Highway grass cutting
As highway authority, our primary aim is to meet our statutory duty to maintain the highway. The primary reason for grass cutting is for safety and to facilitate unobstructed free movement along the highway and it will, therefore include the clearing of sight lines and obstruction to footways and carriageways. However, we recognise the importance of highway grassed areas in the natural environment. In response to this the cutting regime in rural areas has been reviewed and amended, in consultation with Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (HBIC) and the conservation charity, Plantlife UK. Whilst there are still, inevitably some compromises, it aims as far as is currently practically and operationally possible, to achieve a balance between promoting and supporting biodiversity with the needs of road users and efficient use of resources.
Roadside grass cutting in rural areas
The current approach to grass cutting in rural areas is:
  • A single swathe cut (one metre in width) on the rural network each year, to be complete prior to the end of June. This is to provide a safe refuge for walkers and horse riders where there are no footways, so that they may easily step off the carriageway and onto the verge, out of the way of oncoming vehicles
  • Cutting of visibility splays at junctions, roundabouts and bends – at any time during the season and as often as may be desired. The purpose of this is to maintain all important sightlines around bends and at junctions
  • A cut of the central reservations on dual carriageways; either once per year in May, or twice per year in April and September. The purpose of this is to facilitate the routine inspection and tensioning of the safety barrier
  • A full width cut back of highway verges is then undertaken in the autumn (starting in September), on alternate years. This is intended to restrict the growth of trees, brambles and gorse, etc, which if allowed to grow unchecked, would impact on the biodiversity and is based on the advice of Plantlife UK and HBIC
Apart from visibility splays no cutting is undertaken on highway verges during the months of July and August as per the advice from Plantlife UK, to support and promote the growth of wild flowers and an increase in biodiversity.In addition certain areas of verge have been given a special designation by HBIC of ‘Road Verges of Ecological Importance’ (RVEIs), based on the presence of particular important species. The treatment of these RVEIs is for them to be cut either once per year in April or September or twice per year in April and September, dependent on the species that are present. Again this is aimed at creating the conditions to support the species of interest, with some 40 Hectares of road verges currently being managed in this way.
To report a visibility issue:
John Reeve
Parish Councillor

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