Access to the countryside is covered by the principles set out in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

  • take responsibility for your own actions
  • respect the interests of other people
  • care for the environment

For further information visit:

Access Problems

If you encounter a problem while taking access to the countryside in West Dunbartonshire, please complete an Access Problem Reporting Form and return it to the Access Officer.

Section 11 Exemption Orders

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 provides statutory access rights to most land and inland water in Scotland. Section 11 of the Act gives West Dunbartonshire Council the power to temporarily exempt areas of land or inland water from access rights within the Council area, outwith the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

If you wish to temporarily restrict access to certain areas of land you will have to apply to the Council for an Exemption Order.

Reasons why Exemption Orders may be required:

The main requirement for applying for an Exemption Order will be to exempt land from statutory access rights for outdoor events such as an agricultural show or a car rally in order to:

  • Allow a charge to be made for admission to an event
  • In the interests of safety and security
  • Increase privacy for particular events

Not all outdoor events will require an Exemption Order. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides guidance for event organisers on how to ensure their event does not cause unreasonable interference with the rights and needs of land managers and other people, and on how to minimise any impact on the environment. Exemption Orders are only required if you believe people exercising their access rights will affect the event. A copy of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code can be obtained by contacting the West Dunbartonshire Council Access Officer.

Exemption Orders will not be considered for the following activities:

  • Land management reasons as the Act provides sufficient exclusions. Further guidance on the responsible exercise of access rights over agricultural land is provided in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
  •  Large country houses or estates seeking an extensive exclusion for their whole estate well outwith any reasonable expectation of what is needed for privacy
  •  An area of land that is already subject to some management measure prohibiting or restricting access, e.g. where an existing byelaw is in place that deals with the issue
  •  Where a charge for admission is proposed and the charge is for entry only and not for an event


Orders to Exempt Land from Access Rights Guidance Notes

Before completing this form it is advisable to discuss your proposal with the West Dunbartonshire Council Access Officer as you may not require an order to exempt land from access rights.

Guidance Notes

Making an application for an Order to Exempt Land from Access Rights. Please read carefully before completing the form.

Applicant's name and address

Please give your full name and address, including your postcode and, if possible daytime telephone number and e-mail address.

Agent's name and address

You may decide to employ an agent, such as a surveyor or planning consultant, to complete the form for you. If this is the case, all correspondence from the Council will be sent to the agent.

Please give the name, address, phone number and e-mail address of the firm or company, and the individual dealing with this application.

Details of the area to be exempted

Please clearly state the full address of the land, including postcode if possible. If the site has no address, please give a written description which will allow people to identify it including the Ordnance Survey six-figure grid reference for the site.

Why is it necessary to exclude the land from access rights?

Please describe the reasons why you believe the land requires to be excluded from access rights. Remember the Order will not affect the public right to use any existing rights of way that may cross the site. You should also note any provision you are making for alternative routes.

If you are in any doubt about your proposals, please contact the West Dunbartonshire Council Access Officer on 01389 608407.

How long is the exclusion to last?

Please state in days or months the length of time that you wish the exclusion to last. You should also note the proposed start and finish dates with times (if appropriate).

Remember the Scottish Ministers will determine all exclusions in excess of 5 days. No exclusion can extend beyond 2 years.


Two copies of a location plan must be submitted on an Ordnance Survey map to a scale between 1:2,500 and 1:25,000 with a north point. The land to which the application relates must be outlined in red.

Application Fee

A standard fee of £134.00 is payable for all applications for exclusion orders for between six days and two years. This fee must be submitted with the application. Cheques to be made payable to ‘West Dunbartonshire Council’.

When should I submit my application?

Applications for exclusions for 5 days or less should be submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council at least 6 weeks before the start of the start date of the exclusion.

Applications for exclusions for 6 days to 2 years should be submitted to West Dunbartonshire Council at least 16 weeks before the start date of the exclusion.

Where should I submit my application?

Completed forms, together with the necessary plans and fee (if applicable) should be sent to:

Access Officer
West Dunbartonshire Council
2-5 Elm Road
G82 2RH

What happens next?

Once we receive your application, it will be checked to ensure that the forms have been completed correctly, the plans have been attached and the correct fee (if applicable) has been paid. If the application is incomplete or incorrect, it cannot be processed and we will write and tell you what you must do.

If your application is complete you will receive an acknowledgement letter within 5 working days. This will tell you the reference number which you should quote in all future correspondence.

Applications for exemptions between 6 days and 2 years will undergo a statutory 21 day public consultation period during the consultation. If the application is approved by West Dunbartonshire Council, the application and any submissions made by the public during the consultation period, will be passed to the Scottish Ministers for approval.

The decision

Once the Council or Scottish Ministers have made a decision you will be sent a Decision Notice which will inform you if the application has been either Granted, Granted with Conditions or Refused.

The reason for the decision will also be given where an application has been Granted with Conditions or Refused.

Your statutory rights

If you feel that West Dunbartonshire Council have failed to follow the correct procedures and that you have suffered an injustice, you may ask the Local Ombudsman to investigate the matter. You should contact the Commissioner for Local Administration, 23 Walker Street, Edinburgh EH3 7HX Tel: 0131 225 9495

These notes have been prepared to help fill in the Application for an Order to Exempt Land from Access Rights. If you require any further help or are unsure if an application is required, please contact the West Dunbartonshire Council Access Officer:
Tel: 01389 608407