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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Dispute over cycle path routing
Cyclepath sign
Blocking the path has sparked protests and possible legal action
The principal cycle path through central Scotland has been blocked by a farmer who now faces legal action.

West Lothian Council has served a notice on Roy Orr, insisting that the path near Blackridge is reinstated.

Mr Orr argues that National Cycle Route 75, connecting the Forth and Clyde coasts, has no right to cross his land.

Sustainable development charity Sustrans claims the tarmacked section, now out of bounds, cost about 150,000 of public money to establish.

National Cycle Route 75, which was created as part of a major millennium project, stretches from Gourock to Edinburgh.

(The cycle path) allows you to cross the centre of Scotland, traffic-free and uninterrupted
John Lauder
Sustrans Scotland

However, Mr Orr has blocked off the route with a trench and barbed wire fencing.

Under Scotland's new access legislation, West Lothian Council has given him until 9 June to reinstate it or appeal.

A statement from Mr Orr's solicitors claimed the cycleway did not have planning permission and said the fences had been erected so that he could farm the land.

John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland, criticised the move and said it was a national cycle route with an important role to play.

'Council's rights'

"It runs from Leith right through to Gourock and the stretch we are on here is a traffic-free path which runs from Bathgate right through to Airdrie," he said.

"It allows you to cross the centre of Scotland, traffic-free and uninterrupted. It's a really popular path, particularly at the weekends.

West Lothian Council's Duncan MacLean said there were "strong feelings" over what had been done to the path.

He added: "Having checked this out with council officials, under the Reform Act 2003, the council is well within its rights to safeguard any public footpath, canal and waterways that are here."

Meanwhile, cyclists are being diverted along a rough track, although Sustrans has set up its own alternative route on public roads through Blackridge.

See where the cycle path has been blocked

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