By Emma Ryan
CONCERNS have been raised over road safety in some areas where overgrown hedges had been creating hazardous conditions during the summer months.
During the summer, there was numerous reports of overgrown hedges making roads narrow, obstructing vision and causing dangerous conditions for motorists, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The cutting of trees and hedgerows is not permitted from March 1 to August 31, except for reasons of public health and safety.
The hedge cutting season began on September 1.
Cllr Liam Blaney said landowners used to keep their own hedges tidy, however, this practice seems to have seized in many areas.
He called on the Council to enforce the hedge cutting policy and ensure that those who do not maintain the hedges are penalised.
He referred to incidents in the Downings area, on the Atlantic Drive where two vehicles could not pass on the road.
Speaking at the meeting of Letterkenny Milford MD, Cllr Liam Blaney said, “There used to be people who would go out and tidy up the hedges that were not being cut but the last number of years the practice has seized and every year is the same.
“People who don’t cut their hedges seem to get away with it and then the council cuts it for
“I think we need to back to the old way of working – have someone in each area to go talk to the landowners who do not cut their hedges.
“A lot of people will stop cutting hedges when they realise the council will come out and do it for them,” said Cllr Blaney.
Cllr Blaney suggested the Council hold a workshop on the issue.
Cllr Pauric McGarvey said he had also received calls from residents who were concerned about the dangers of hedges.
Senior Executive Engineer at Donegal County Council David McIlwaine said the hedge cutting season has just restarted so the Council tries to minimise the hedge cutting outside of the season, focusing only on particularly hazardous locations.
He explained that the Council will go speak to land owners and if unsuccessful, a letter is sent out before prosecution.
He added in some cases it is “difficult to identify the landowner.”
A spokesperson for Council said, “The hedge cutting season runs from September 1 to February 29 2024.
“In accordance with the Hedge Cutting Policy Donegal County Council will publicly advertise details of the hedge cutting season.
“Where failures to maintain hedges are identified the Council will endeavour to enforce the policy with the resources that are available.”