Council issue warning over overgrown hedges

AS winter 2021 approaches Donegal County Council has issued warnings to a number of landowners to cut back overgrown road-side hedges, tress and briars.
Overgrown hedges can impair driver visibility and overhanging branches can cause damage to high sided vehicles such as lorries, ambulances and fire engines.
Last week, the Council erected notices at the side of some minor roads in Donegal amid ongoing complaints from the public about the difficulties untrimmed verges and overgrown hedges are posing for pedestrians and motorists.
The notice reads: Under Road Act 1993 landowners/occupiers please note that overgrown hedges, trees and briars on this road need to be cut back as soon as possible. Thank you. Donegal County Council.
The current hedge cutting season opened on 1 September 2021 and will continue until 28 February 2022.
Landowners/occupiers have a legal obligation under the Roads Act, 1993 to take all necessary care to ensure that trees, shrubs, hedges or any other vegetation on their land is not, or could not be, a danger to those using a public road or to somebody carrying out maintenance or improvement work on the road.
Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 places responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges on the owners/occupiers of the adjoining lands.
The responsibility for the maintenance of roadside verges rests with the local authority.
While the Council had not responded to a series of questions on the matter, a well-placed Council source said that such notices are ‘rare, but not unheard of’.
While generally, hedge cutting and the clearance of vegetation is restricted to the 6 month period September to February, legislation under the Wildlife Act allows both landowners and public authorities to address hedges for road safety reasons at any time of the year.
During this time, landowners and anyone living along the road side has a responsibility to check that hedges or trees on their property are not causing a hazard.
The local authority has powers to require landowners to take action where a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation is a potential hazard – such as in this particular case

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