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Grass cutting and verge maintenance

We are responsible for maintaining roadside verges for safety purposes whilst being sympathetic to environmental considerations. There are 9,000km of roads in North Yorkshire, meaning there is a considerable length of verge, mostly covered in grass.

We are not responsible for maintaining the verges of private roads leading to or from private properties, or for the vast majority of hedges by the roadside which are usually the responsibility of the adjacent landowner. Motorway and trunk road verges are maintained by the Highways Agency.

Urban and rural grass cutting

Our grass cutting policy is split into two: urban and rural. Urban grass cutting takes place on roads with a speed limit of 40mph or less, and rural grass cutting takes place on roads with a speed limit of 50mph or above.

Changes to our urban grass cutting policy

From April 2015, we are making changes to our urban grass cutting policy on roads of 40mph or less.

Until recently, most urban grass cutting has been provided for amenity purposes only. However, due to reductions in the money we receive from the government, we have had to find significant savings in our highways budget. This means that we will now fund grass cutting in urban areas that is essential for visibility or safety purposes only.

The rural grass cutting policy, which applies to verges on roads of 50mph or above, remains unchanged and has not been reduced.

You can access our online maps to view the urban grass cutting status of verges in your area. The map shows parish information, and areas of urban grass within each parish and what will be cut.

­Timing of grass cutting

We have to balance the safety of road users and pedestrians with environmental considerations, recognising that verges are important for wildlife. Some of our grass cutting is done early in the year, and some in July, August or September, to allow flowers to set seed whilst also maintaining safety. The frequency of the cut depends on where the verge is located.

Damage to verges

We receive many reports of verge damage every year. To minimise damage you can take the following steps:

  • Never drive or park on a verge - this kills plants and damages the soil structure;
  • If you see someone damaging a verge, report it;
  • Never plant bulbs or other cultivated plants on road side verges without first obtaining a licence from the county council;
  • Only cut the grass verge later in the year when wild flowers have had time to seed.

Weed spraying

Where weed problems exist, we use one application of a non-residual contact herbicide called 'glyphosate', which conforms to health and safety and Environment Agency requirements. We may use additional treatments where required.

Report an issue with a verge

If the issue is causing an immediate danger to the safety of road users, it is classed as an emergency. You should contact us by telephone to report an emergency rather than using our online form. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am - 5.30pm. Dial 999 outside office hours for our emergency service.

You can tell us about an issue with a verge by registering / logging in to the 'my account' section of the website. 'My account' also allows you to view details of services you have previously applied, booked and paid for. You can also see updates on their progress.

If you prefer, you can tell us about a verge issue anonymously, but please be aware that you will miss out on the benefits of having an account ie. you will not receive progress updates.

You can provide feedback about your experience of reporting an issue with a verge here.

Check the progress of a previously reported highway issue

Updates to issues you reported whilst logged into your account are available here.


This page was last updated on 13 October 2016