Grass cutting is carried out using methods
appropriate to health and Safety & the Environment and entails
cutting of all vegetation (including grass, weeds, small self sets,
shrubs, undergrowth etc) down to a height not exceeding 100mm.
Verges in Rural areas with speed limits of
over 40mph are primarily cut for safety reasons. In rural areas the
Council carries out three cuts throughout the
The first two cuts are a 1.2m swath cut
on the whole length of the road and any central reservations.
The inside of bends and visibility splays at junctions will be
cut to the full width of the verge.
A third cut is carried out in September/
October. This is a full width cut in order to reduce the onset of
self sets and other woody vegetation.
Verges in urban areas are cut a minimum of six
times per year.
Some verges in villages are cut by the Parish
Visibility splays for road signs are included
in the cutting programme, growth around obstacles is controlled by
either spraying in advance of grass cutting or strimming within two
days of the main cut. Where possible, these areas are
replanted with dwarf grass species or treated with selective
herbicide and grass retardant.
Roadside nature Reserves
Roadside nature reserves will be cut during
the third full width cut.
Urban verges (ie those within areas of
Parishes covered by 30 or 40mph speed limits) are cut six times a
year for amenity purposes between March and October. Grass is cut
to a length between 30 and 80mm, Cuttings are left on verges. Areas
around sign posts and trees etc are strimmed or weed spayed.
The Borough Council allows Parish Councils the
opportunity to opt out of the Borough Councils grass cuttings
service and carry out grass cutting themselves. In these cases a
financial contribution is offered to the Parish Council to support
self delivery. Payments to Parishes are made annually in
Routine spraying of weeds is carried
out twice a year between May and September. The use of weed
killers must comply with all current legislation and the
manufacturers recommended application.
Having identified or been made aware of:
noxious weeds for which the Authority has a statutory
responsibility to control under the Weeds Act 1959 and the Wildlife
and Countryside Act 1981 as altered by the Countryside and Rights
of Way Act 2000,an assessment of measures needed to remove the
cause of future risk shall be undertaken. These measures may
require the action of other parties.
Where it has been confirmed by inspection that
overhanging vegetation represents an immediate or imminent hazard,
the Borough Council will remove overhanging vegetation as soon as
is practicable and in accordance with Section 150 of the Highways
Tree maintenance in the rural and urban areas
is based on the same broad service standard and is not
differentiated by location. The Arboricultural Service at the
Borough Council response times to tree enquiries and emergency call
outs are the same for rural and urban trees where they are in the
Council’s ownership or on highway land. Whether works are required
or not is based on an inspection taking into account the condition
of the tree.
On an operational level, the rural area is
serviced by both Amey PLC and Bartlett Tree Experts. The urban area
is serviced by Bartlett’s however Amey are available for emergency
call outs after 4pm for both the urban and rural area.
Again there is no differentiation with regard
to planting policy however there is less opportunity for planting
on highway land which is fairly limited in rural parishes. Much of
the available land is owned by Parish Councils. Historically, the
rural areas were provided with free trees under the ‘Free Trees
Scheme’ which was set up by the former CC, primarily to replace
hedgerows which had been grubbed out after the Second World War.
This scheme currently provides on request, around £5k per annum for
the supply of whips, trees, canes and spirals to rural
Other Parks and Countryside Facilities
The Borough Council is responsible for in access of 500 hectares
of open space including a number of Country Parks and countryside
sites. While Priory Country Park is on the urban fringe Harrold
Odell Country Park is very much a rural site while maintained by
the Borough Council with the support of a number of volunteers.
There are also a further ? countryside sites that the Borough
Council maintains within the rural area.