Prior to the introduction of revised procedures (set out in regulations under section 68 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which came into effect in July 2002), people who had to cross common land in order to reach their homes were sometimes denied the right of access to their own property, due to an anomaly in the law. In order to gain access, it was necessary for them to obtain an "easement" from the owner of the common land. This could be very expensive for the person needing the right of access.
Under the revised rules, the right of easement is now statutory and, provided the relevant conditions are met and procedures complied with, the owners of the common land cannot object. In return they will be paid as follows:
- 0.25% of the value of the premises if these came into being before 1 January 1906;
- 0.5% of the value of the premises, if they came into being between 1 January 1906 and 1 December 1930; and
- 2% of the value of the premises if they came into being on or after 1 December 1930.
Once payment has been made, the right of access will continue in perpetuity.