This short note does not set out to be even a partial description of the scope of DMMOs. Rather it is a few of the key facts which should be useful for anyone who wishes to apply for a definitive Map modification order particularly those submitting Lost Way applications.
A lost way researcher who wishes to have a route added to the Definitive map must provide enough good evidence to the local authority to make an order to put the route onthe Definitive Map. Even when this is done the order must be confirmed in the face of any viable legal opposition which may arise.
DMMOs are about whether(public use) rights already exist, as evidenced by proven long term public use or by historical documentary evidence. They are not about whether rights should be created or taken away. The suitability of a way for users who have a right to use it or the nuisnce that they are alleged to case are irrelevant. So also is the need for public access. The important thing is good evidence.
DMMOs raised for lost way paths do not have any priority for impementation over the long lists of other DMMOs already on the waiting lists of local authorities around the country. some authorities have only a few on their lists while others like Lincolnshire have around 150 at any one time. Some applications have been on the list for 20 years or more. Generally, applications are dealt with on a priority basis, partially driven by public pressure. It is expected that new legislation, such as the Deregulation Act will have an effect on how DMMOs are dealt with in the future.
Currently, the majority of DMMOs being processed are based upon user evidence rather than on historical documentary evidence. This is probably because substantial numbers of people are known to have used the route in the last 20 years or more. The difficulty is finding enough people willing to sign that they have legallyused the path regularly over that time. This is not easy.