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Council cuts mean Norfolk’s grass verges will be trimmed less

PUBLISHED: 11:45 20 November 2015 | UPDATED: 13:36 20 November 2015

Overgrown grass verges in Roughton Road, Cromer. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Overgrown grass verges in Roughton Road, Cromer. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

Norfolk’s rural grass verges are to be cut less frequently to save more than £80,000.

The latest County Hall spending cut will now see less cutting of the grass which grows alongside the county’s 6,000 miles of roads.

Norfolk County councillors today narrowly agreed to ditch the current approach, which involves a wholesale cut of grass verges twice a year.

That will change to two “intermittent” safety cuts, concentrating on bends and junctions to maintain visibility for road users.

Every other year, the second cut will be replaced with a full cut of all verges, to suppress weed and shrub growth.

The change, which was agreed by nine votes to eight, will save the council £84,000 a year. The authority is currently consulting on £123m of cuts.

The Conservatives had objected to the change, raising concerns over road safety.

Conservative Tony White said some verges in rural areas needed to be cut as they doubled as paths, while his Tory colleague Ian Mackie had concerns over road safety.

He said: “Parishes will not want to see grass in verges up to two or three feet high. They will feel these are cuts which their council tax pays for.

“The issue around safety has not been fully analysed, as the police have not been consulted on this.”

But Labour’s Terry Jermy said: “It’s something that could help biodiversity and can save money. The key for me is flexibility.”

The debate found an unlikely online audience after national newspaper The Independent picked up on the EDP story which previewed today’s meeting and sarcastically tweeted that it was “all kicking off in Norfolk”.

Toby Coke, chairman of the council’s environment, transport and development committee, where the decision was taken, said he was amazed at the interest it had generated.

What do you think? Leave your comments below or write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email EDPletters@archant.co.uk

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