Landowners reminded to cut hedgerows to prevent serious road safety hazards

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green grass field under cloudy sky during daytime

LIMERICK Council joins the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and local authorities nationwide in reminding landowners to cut hedgerows before 01 March.  

Overgrown hedgerows and roadside verges can result in road fatalities and serious injury collisions. Pedestrians, cyclists, trucks and agricultural vehicles face problems on rural roads in the case of sightlines at junctions or obstructions to the roads due to overgrown hedgerows.

The Road Act 1993 states that landowners and occupiers of land are obliged to take all reasonable care to ensure that trees, ditches, hedges, and other vegetation growing on their land are not or could not become a danger to people using or working on a public road.

Under the Wildlife Act, the season when cutting hedgerows and verges is between the start of September and the end of February the following year.

Sam Waide, Chief Executive of RSA said: “We are calling on all landowners across the country to remember the impact that overgrown hedgerows can have on other road users. They can cause a road safety hazard that could potentially cost the life of another member of your community.

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Road safety is a shared responsibility, and it is important that landowners remain alert and take accountability for maintaining hedgerows. We will only make our roads a safer place if we all step up to the mark and take personal responsibility for what happens on the roads.”

Paddy Mahon, Chair of the CCMA Climate Action, Transport and Networks Committee, said this about local authorities obligations to ensuring that public roads and verges are maintained and kept safe: ”Local authorities have an obligation to ensure roadside verges are maintained and that local road safety issues should be prioritised.

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.”

The National Parks and Wildlife Service initiated 40 prosecutions in 2021, and the Department of Housing has said that it hopes fewer will be necessary this year.