Outdoor access rights and responsibilities
Perthshire offers many opportunities to get out and enjoy the outdoors, to walk, cycle, ride or paddle down rivers and camp overnight. The countryside is also a home and workplace to people and wildlife and it is important that we understand our responsibilities and behave in a way which does not cause damage or annoyance to others.
COVID - 19
Responsible public access rights still apply during the COVID - 19 emergency when it is vital that people can exercise in their local area. Access takers must take extra care to ensure they follow the national requirements on social distancing and hygiene. The Council has a statutory duty to uphold access rights and will endeavour to work constructively to encourage good relations with landowners/managers and their wider communities, particularly at this difficult time. Please read our policy statement on upholding access rights during COVID-19 [77Kb].
Rights and responsibilities
The right to take responsible non motorised access in Scotland is provided for by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (LRA). The Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) has been produced to explain what is meant by responsible behaviour in any situation for both the 'access taker' and the 'land manager'.
It answers questions like:
- Where can I go to enjoy the countryside without disturbing anyone who lives or works in the countryside?
- Do I have the right to walk, cycle, ride or camp in an area which belongs to someone else?
- Do I need to pay attention to notices telling me to 'keep out'?
Informal and wild camping - FAQs
Perth and Kinross has some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland, which attracts many visitors to our area. We warmly welcome visitors who act responsibly and respect their local surroundings.
The number of visitors is expected to increase this year due to Covid-related foreign travel restrictions, people wanting to get away after weeks of lockdown, and pressures on availability of traditional visitor accommodation. Therefore, there is a likely increase in informal camping and campervans in our area, and our communities are already telling us this is happening. This creates welcome opportunity for visitor spend in local communities but also pressures due to the volume of these visitors, and anti-social behaviour of a small proportion.
In response to this, and in combination with other approaches being trialled and considered, we have created a Frequently Asked Questions [334Kb] document which seeks to address some of the key questions being asked by local residents and communities, businesses, landowners and visitors to the area.
Is all land covered by access rights?
Not all land is within access rights, exceptions include gardens, school playing fields and growing crops.
At times there may be a special event or area where normal access rights are not appropriate, in these cases an order of exemption can be applied. Reasons for exemptions might include:
- Allowing a charge to be made for a particular event
- In the interests of safety and security
- Increasing privacy for particular events
Obstructions to public access
If you are prevented from exercising your right of responsible access by an obstruction, such as a locked gate, intimidating sign or person, you may wish to report the situation to the Council for advice or investigation. In these circumstances you should ensure your report is as full as possible and should include:
- an accurate description of the location of the obstruction, including map based grid reference if possible
- an accurate description of the date and circumstances encountered
- a digital photograph of the obstruction if possible
- your contact details including phone number and e-mail address
Ideally you should make your report by e-mail to the Customer Service Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Council will acknowledge and record your report and may contact you to discuss it further or investigate it with a view to resolving the obstruction.
Current Exemption Orders
Exemption Orders are made under Section 11 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 to temporarily remove the legal right of public access from an area for a special purpose.
There are no Exemption Orders at present.
I am organising an event - do I need an Exemption Order?
Not all events and activities will require an exemption order. If normal access patterns are unlikely to be impacted upon by your event, or if access can be managed by way of temporary advisory notices and diversions, you may not require an exemption order. For more information view the a guide to making an application for an Order of Exemption from access rights for land / inland water. [43Kb]
To make an application, download and complete the Application for an order of exemption from access rights for land / inland water [58Kb].
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives duties and powers to Councils and National Parks as Access Authorities with regard to outdoor access. You can request information and advice from our Community Greenspace officers in relation to access rights and responsibilities by emailing CommunityGreenspace@pkc.gov.uk. The Perth & Kinross Outdoor Access Forum are also able to advise.