Mayo County Council is calling on all landowners, farmers and householders to ensure their roadside hedges and overhanging trees and vegetation in rural and urban areas be cut back from footpaths and at junctions so that motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can travel safely on roads around the county. The hedge cutting season is open since September 1.
Head of Roads with Mayo County Council Mr Paul Dolan stated at the September meeting of the Council: "We in the roads department of Mayo County Council have had numerous representations from road users concerning the overgrown state of hedgerows and also overhanging trees along some of our rural roads and the serious road safety issues that can result.
"While we would like to compliment the many landowners who maintain their roadside hedges, there is also a significant number of landowners / occupiers and householders who fail to cut and maintain their roadside hedges which can result in road safety issues on those roads. We are calling on them to be more proactive over the next few months to ensure that their roadside hedges and overhanging trees are maintained properly as they are obliged to do under the law.”
Section 70 of the Roads Act 1993 places responsibility for the maintenance of roadside hedges on the owners/occupiers of the adjoining lands. The season when hedge cutting is permitted under the Wildlife Act is between the start of September and the end of February the following year. This year Mayo County Council is planning to step up its awareness campaign at the start of September to remind landowners of their hedge cutting responsibilities. This will include placing ads in local newspapers, on local radio and on the Council's website.
Mayo County Council has a community hedge-cutting grant scheme in operation. That scheme, encourages a joint approach with communities and groups of local residents and landowners, for cutting hedges and trees which need attention. The grant will contribute €40 per km, which equates to about 33 per cent of the cost. "We always say road safety is a shared responsibility, so it’s about us all doing our share to make our roads safer and ensure the success of the road safety strategy", said Dolan.