In addition to the obligations arising from Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC), developers also have obligations relating to the safety of the public under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2015 (CDM). These public access and safety requirements work together and should be addressed in an integrated way.
Access rights may be suspended on land on which construction work is being carried out, except for routes that are core paths or rights of way. This suspension applies to areas where building operations are active, rather than the whole area under the developer’s control, and the SOAC underlines that restrictions should be kept to the minimum area and the minimum duration that is reasonable and practicable.
Management arrangements should therefore be flexible enough to take account of public access requirements and to adapt as the site develops, so that access controls are focused on where the actual risks are present. This ensures that limitations on access are seen to be proportionate and credible by recreational users. This approach is likely to encourage greater compliance by the public and will be more effective in meeting safety needs.
A range of mechanisms can be used to manage access during construction, and SNH would like to hear of case studies where management has been put into good practice to encourage responsible access. We look forward to hearing from you.