A recent freedom of information request has revealed that North Lanarkshire Council has a number of unresolved issues reported by the public, some dating back six years to 2005. Of the 194 individual issues reported since 2005, 38 are still outstanding. Of these twenty involve rights of way and a further seven involve proposed core paths.
What’s more concerning is that there is neither any timescale in which matters should be dealt with, nor any set down procedure for escalating action, two things sorely needed as the figures clearly show.
Should a landowner refuse to reply to the council, or comply with their advice the council have the right to serve 14 days notice on the landowner that they will carry out any work necessary and will recoup costs. From 2005 to date NO land manager has had this sanction applied, and while the council do have to put up the initial outlay for action they can recover all of this. Win, win you would think, and once word spreads you would expect other issues to be resolved a bit sooner.
I personally have reported a number of issues, some of which date back years now, all still unresolved. My view is that in this part of the country land managers are now free to wire up access gates, block rights of way and put electric fences across footpaths with impunity. It seems to me that while the Access Officers are doing a fairly good job they are being let down by those who control the purse strings, and it’s now long overdue that action was taken against those people who go out of their way to make outdoors access impossible for others.
You can view the full freedom of information request HERE.