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Norfolk on verge of decision over cutting of roadside grass

Cut verges on the A149 near North Walsham.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Cut verges on the A149 near North Walsham. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

To cut or not to cut – that is the question, when it comes to Norfolk’s rural grass verges.

Public opinion over how best to manage the grass which grows alongside the county’s 6,000 miles of roads is split.

Some, especially motorists, say it is essential for safety that the verges are cut, with long grass hindering visibility. Others argue overgrown verges are simply unsightly.

But there are others who have been pressing for verges to be left completely uncut, benefiting wildflowers, insects, birds and other wildlife.

And the debate will be taken to County Hall this week, when councillors will be asked to consider reducing how often the authority cuts the verges – a move which would save Norfolk County Council £84,000 a year.

Officers want councillors to agree to ditch the current approach, which involves a wholesale cut of grass verges twice a year.

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

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

Toby Coke, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport committee, said: “I know there are people passionately for and against these kind of changes.

“But my long-held view is that completely cutting the grass alongside Norfolk’s 6,000 miles of roads is excessive and something we simply can’t afford.

“The changes will also help nesting birds and give wildflowers a chance to seed.”

A decision will be made by the council’s environment, development and transport committee on Friday.

What do you think? 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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