Verges in Rural areas with speed limits of
over 40mph are primarily cut for safety reasons.
Verges are cut to a 1.2m swathe. Two swathe
cuts are carried out on standard verges each year. The first swathe
cut to take place between May and July and second ‘full width’ cut
to take place in September, October and November.
Verges are treated additionally with herbicide
and grass retardant once per year.
Visibility splays at junctions are cut four
times per year. Where possible, these are replanted with dwarf
grass or treated with herbicide and grass retardant.
Visibility splays for road signs are included
in the cutting programme. Where possible, these splays are
replanted with dwarf grass species. If this is not possible,
treat with selective herbicide and grass retardant.
No cutting is carried out on identified
Roadside Nature Reserves unless directed by the Countryside Sites
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
Central reserves are usually cut once a year
between March and May. Reserves are treated with selective
herbicide and grass retardant by the end of May each year areas
around safety barrier are sprayed out with total herbicide.
An annual cut is carried out on woody
vegetation encroaching on the verge (including hedges, self sets
and woody weeds) with heavy duty machinery e.g. mulching
Routine spraying of weeds in urban areas is
carried out once or twice a year. The use of weed killers must
comply with all current legislation and the manufacturers
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
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.