The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives a range of duties and powers to access authorities (local authorities and National Parks), including to uphold and facilitate access rights, and to plan a system of core paths to give the public reasonable access throughout their areas.
In order to monitor progress and expenditure on these additional responsibilities, the Scottish Government has established an annual monitoring return to collect information from all access authorities on their progress and expenditure. The data received is compiled into a database for analysis, and to give information at a national level.
The questions in the monitoring returns are divided into three sections, relating to general questions about access functions, the use of statutory powers, and expenditure. The monitoring covers the period from the commencement of the Act (9 February 2005) to the end of March 2016. The monitoring return was simplified in 2014 and data collected in the period 2005-06 to 2012-13 has been archived. There are three reports:
- Latest Summary of trends 2005-06 to 2015-16
- Full monitoring report for 2013-14 to 2015-16
- Full monitoring report for 2005-06 to 2012-13 (archive)