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Grass Cutting

Grass Verges

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 spring/summer.

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 Councils.


Highway Furniture

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 May/June


Highway Weeds

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.


Noxious Weeds

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.


Overhanging vegetation

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 Act 1980.


Tree Maintenance

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.


Tree Planting

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 parishes.


Other Parks and Countryside Facilities

The Borough Council is responsible for in excess of 500 hectares of open space including a number of Country Parks and countryside sites. Priory Country Park is on the urban fringe of Bedford and Harrold-Odell Country Park is a rural site situated in the north of the Borough. Both country parks are maintained by the Borough Council with the support of hundreds of Park Champion volunteers and Friends groups. There are also numerous other countryside sites that Bedford Borough Council maintain, many with local volunteer support.

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