Landowners urged to act as Hedgerow Cutting season comes to close

by Rose Barrett
0 comment

Fingal County Council, along with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the County and City Management Association (CCMA), is calling on landowners to cut their hedgerows before the March 1 deadline, to ensure they are not causing a potentially serious road safety hazard.

Overgrown hedgerows and roadside verges can result in road fatalities and serious collisions causing injury. Properly maintained hedges protect vulnerable road users who can otherwise be forced too far into the road by overgrown hedges. Properly cut hedgerows give motorists a clear view of what is in front of them or around a bend, especially on local rural roads in the case of sightlines at junctions or obstructions to road signs.

In accordance with the Wildlife Act, it is an offence to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated or growing in any hedge or ditch, between 1st March and 31st August. There are some exceptions to this including if there are grounds to act for road safety reasons. Fingal County Council can and does take direct action and serves notice on landowners to act in such circumstances.

Mr. Sam Waide, Chief Executive, RSA, said: “Landowners across the country need to be aware of the impact that overgrown hedgerows can have on other road users. They can cause a road safety hazard that could potentially result in loss of life or serious injury to another member of your community.  Road safety is a shared responsibility, and it is important that landowners remain alert and take accountability for maintaining hedgerows. We can make our roads a safer place if we all play our role and take personal responsibility for what happens on the roads.”

On behalf of local authorities, John McLaughlin, Chair of the County and City Management Association Climate Action, Transport, Circular Economy, and Networks Committee said: “Local authorities have an obligation to ensure roadside verges are maintained and that local road safety issues should be prioritised, whilst also recognising the commitments under directives to preserve hedgerows and promote biodiversity. Equally, landowners and anyone living along the roadside has a responsibility to check that hedges or trees on their property are not causing a road safety hazard. If they are, the landowners should take the necessary steps needed to ensure road safety. We are also calling on members of the public to report road safety issues caused by overgrowth to their local authority, which can then contact the landowner.”

Hans Visser, Biodiversity Officer for Fingal County Council said: “Hedgerows are manmade features and they do require maintenance to keep them in the desired shape and condition. By applying the right management techniques and by carrying out the works throughout Winter and ending before March 1st, it can be done without causing unnecessary harm to birds and other wildlife that are present in the hedgerows.”

Fingal County Council’s Director for Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel, David Storey, said: “Road safety can be affected by uncut hedgerows encroaching on the road and as we enter into February, I’d like to remind landowners to ensure this is not the case on their land. We all have a responsibility to contribute to road safety for motorists, cyclists and walkers and by keeping the roadway free of obstacles to line of sight and movement you can help. There are 4 weeks to complete hedgerow cutting before the March 1stdeadline so please take necessary action immediately.”

Those with lands adjacent to roadways and walkways are encouraged to take action before the end of February.

Related Articles