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Restrictions placed on Councils when using OS maps for planning (FOI221128)

This Freedom of Information request asks for any restrictions placed on Councils when they use OS maps for planning.

Request for information - Ref No: FOI221128


Thank you for your original email of 30 December 2022, requesting information from Ordnance Survey in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, and your additional email of 4 January 2023, clarifying your request.

The text of your original email, our request for clarification, and your response to our request for clarification are set out in the extracts below for ease of reference:

Your original email of 30 December 2022:

“Please can you confirm what restrictions are placed on Parish Councils who may wish to use your mapping for planning matters. and if there a clause saying they need to refer to HM Land Registry to confirm easements and historic rights of way.”

OS request for clarification of 4 January 2023:

“From our preliminary assessment, we will not be able to answer your request for information without further clarification.  To ensure that we understand exactly what information you require, it would be useful if you are able to provide further clarification on what the matter is regarding and specifically what you mean by ‘restrictions’ This will enable us to provide an appropriate and accurate response to your request.

In the meantime, the following information may assist you:

If the Parish Council, you are referring to is a member of our Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) they will have access to use OS data in accordance with the terms of their PSGA Member Licence and they are required to add the relevant OS acknowledgement of copyright and database rights when using data derived from OS.  You can find out further information on the PSGA and whether the Parish Council is a member on our website: The PSGA | Government and public sector | Ordnance Survey and the use of OS acknowledgements here: Copyright acknowledgements | OS Licensing (  There is nothing in the PSGA Member Licence which specifically references the need for them to refer to HM Land Registry to confirm easements and historic rights of way.  Please note that Local Authorities have definitive maps which record rights of way.”

Your email of 4 January 2023:

“with regard to interpreting information on  the licenced mapping  and the information I down loaded from the Land Registry..   I am awaiting certified copy's [sic] from the Land Registry    It would  be good to know  if the title plan shows an easement that   it takes precedent over licenced mapping that does on my  first inspection  of licenced mapping does not show it.

Title number XXXXXX accessed 19 December 2022 showing the registered owners of our right of way being  XXXXX care of XXXXX The entry date was 2020-05-01   Charge C on the register Charge C  clearly shows our right of way Class Title absolute   entered 2008-05-14  My problem is the Parish Council not acknowledging the presence of our  easement.”

Our response

We do not consider this be a valid request for information under section 8 of the FOIA, as it does not include a specific request for recorded information, however, we are happy to provide you with the following information in accordance with section 16 of FOIA, which may assist you in this matter.

OS mapping shows the physical features on the ground at the time of survey in accordance with our specification. Our maps do not show legal ownership of physical features, this is recorded by HM Land Registry.

You may find the information on our website helpful: Property boundary maps | OS Tools & Support (

Internal review

Your enquiry has been processed according to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. If you are unhappy with our response, you may request an internal review with our Internal Review Officer by contacting them, within two months of receipt of our final response to your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, as follows:

Internal Review Officer
Customer Service Centre
Ordnance Survey
Adanac Drive
SO16 0AS

Contact us via our FoI form

Please include the reference number above. You may request an internal review where you believe Ordnance Survey has:

  • Failed to respond to your request within the time limits (normally 20 working days)
  • Failed to tell you whether or not we hold the information
  • Failed to provide the information you have requested
  • Failed to explain the reasons for refusing a request
  • Failed to correctly apply an exemption or exception

The Internal Review Officer will not have been involved in the original decision. They will conduct an independent internal review and will inform you of the outcome of the review normally within 20 working days, but exceptionally within 40 working days, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidance.

The Internal Review Officer will either: uphold the original decision, provide an additional explanation of the exemption/s applied or release further information, if it is considered appropriate to do so.

Appeal to Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If, following the outcome of the internal review you remain unhappy with our response, you may raise an appeal, within three months of receiving our response, with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Further information can be found on the ICO website ( under ‘Report a concern’ or you may wish to call the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.