Trees, hedges and verges
Norfolk County Council is responsible for trees growing on adopted highway verges. However in almost all cases, the boundary hedges and trees that are next to roads are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner. Highway verges are cut for road safety purposes to maintain visibility at junctions and to provide room for people to walk on the pavement.
We cut grass verges in urban areas 5 times between May and September.
We cut verges in rural areas countywide twice a year.
The first cut this year finished in June and was focussed on visibility splays at bends and junctions.
The second and final cut took place in July and August.
This final cut will include a full cut of rural verges across the county.
Unfortunately limited funds mean we can't cut more often, unless the verge is dangerous or blocking visibility.
Report a problem with a verge
We will carry out an inspection and if we find there to be a problem, we will either contact the landowner responsible and ask them to arrange for their hedges/trees to be pruned or, for our trees/hedges, we will arrange the necessary work.
We have a direct responsibility to ensure that our trees do not pose a danger to the public or property. We address this risk in our Tree Safety Management Policy.
Note that we cannot help where the affected road/pavement is private or unadopted or where the problem is not considered to be urgent (eg unsightly or simply overhanging but not causing any obstruction).
Verge erosion is a problem in rural areas. It is not illegal for drivers to use verges, and normally the grass will recover in the spring.
Roadside Nature Reserves
Norfolk’s roadside verges stretch for 1,000s of miles and are such an integral part of the landscape that it is easy to take them for granted, yet many verges contain plant species that, although once common, are now nationally rare or scarce.
To help to protect them, these special sites are designated Roadside Nature Reserves under the Roadside Nature Reserve Scheme, and are individually managed to benefit the plants and animals that live there.
There are currently 111 Roadside Nature Reserves in Norfolk, with a combined length of almost 10 miles, and new verges are designated each year.
Roadside Nature Reserves are demarcated with posts which identify the stretch of special interest.
Most Roadside Nature Reserves are cut at the end of the summer when the plants have had a chance to flower and set seed. They are cut using a tractor mounted suction flail, and the clippings are removed from the site.
Some weeds spread quickly and can cause a lot of damage to hard surfaces, which is costly to repair. We spray weeds on adopted roads and pavements, and also deal with ragwort, thistles, nettles, brambles and giant hogweed on roads.
Weed killing normally starts in May with a second treatment in July or August. The cycle should take 4 weeks but can be delayed by wind and rain. We use a Glyphosate spray, a herbicide which is approved for use by the EU and the HSE Chemicals Regulation Directorate.