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Roadside verges

Verges

It is an offence to plough a roadside verge.  We have a duty to prevent this happening and take action where ploughing, cultivation or encroachment of any sort has taken place.

Hedge cutting

Roadside hedges are the responsibility of the adjoining landowner.  Modern methods of hedge trimming can reduce most of the cut material to small pieces that fall close to the hedge but the machinery operator needs to ensure there is no danger to the public from flying cuttings.

  • If paths or footways run directly alongside a hedge, tractor mounted machinery is not recommended as it may be a risk for pedestrians
  • Keep hedge trimmings clear of roads, footways and paths and sweep up when work has finished
  • Ensure drainage grips, ditches and gullies are not obstructed by trimmings or damaged by tractor wheels
  • Provide adequate warning to other road users, including road signs

Hedge cutting road sign

  • Always carry out the work during times of light traffic and good daylight visibility
  • Where possible cut during January, February or March and avoid cutting during April, May, June or July unless it is for road safety reasons

Where a hedge is considered to be an interference to the safe use of the highway, we may serve you with a formal notice requiring action.

Trees

Trees help to improve the environment and provide an excellent habitat for wildlife.  However, landowners have a duty to ensure trees on their land do not pose a danger to others.  Generally, trees growing on the boundary are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner rather than the highway authority.

  • Arrange regular checks of trees situated on your land that might fall onto the highway and arrange for any necessary tree surgery works
  • Ensure branches from trees overhanging the highway do not obstruct or pose a danger to traffic and pedestrians or obscure signs
  • Plant new trees in hedgerows and where they won’t be a danger to road users
  • Remove dead trees and broken branches which could cause a hazard to highway users

Remember – you might need permission to lop a tree covered by a tree preservation order

We have the power under the Highways Act 1980 to require the owner of an overhanging hedge or tree to cut it back to the highway boundary within 14 days.  If action is not taken, we may carry out the work and recharge the owner.

Unless agreed by the Highway Authority in advance, the planting of a tree less than 15ft from the centre of the road is prohibited, even if it replaces a tree that was even nearer.  This applies whether the tree is on private land or in the highway.

The planting of trees in the highway verge can only be undertaken by parish or town councils, and then only under specific licence from the County Council.

More information on trees, hedges and verges

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