As the summer growing season draws to a close, landowners are being urged to think of the safety of others and make sure that any foliage overhanging roads or pavements is cut back.
Each year, North Yorkshire County Council’s highways teams receive many calls about overgrown trees, hedges and bushes and have to pursue landowners to cut them back.
Hedges and trees grown to mark the boundary of private property are the responsibility of the landowner or occupier and it is up them to maintain them. They must ensure they don’t obscure road signs or street lights, reduce visibility, especially at junctions or on bends, or prevent people using footways or cycleways safely. They must also remove dead or decaying growth that could fall onto the highway.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “We are urging people to keep on top of the maintenance of trees, hedges and bushes and be mindful of other people’s need for access, particularly on footways.
“Sometimes, overgrown foliage can reduce the width of footways to such an extent that people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs have to go into the road. If they then also have to pass parked cars they can be in the middle of the road, which is dangerous, of course.
“Overgrown trees and hedges can also reduce visibility for drivers at junctions and can obscure street lights and road signs, all of which affects safety of the county’s roads.
“We would rather not have to tell people to tend to their boundary foliage, but people do need to realise that maintenance is their responsibility and to understand how great the impact on other people can be if they don’t keep it in check.”
Issues with verges, trees or hedges can be reported online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/reportit. If the issue is causing an immediate danger to the safety of road users, it is classed as an emergency. In that case, contact the County Council on 01609 780780 to report an emergency rather than using the online form. The council’s opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 5.30pm. Dial 999 outside office hours for our emergency service.
More information about the responsibilities of landowners and the County Council can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/verges.