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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

19 comments

  • All councils could save money by removing the dangerous mini forests and gardens on roundabouts-there is barely a roundabout in the Yarmouth area which works as well as it did when first constructed. A few flowers are one thing, a mass of overgrown trees and shrubs restricting drivers line of view unless they are in a highways lorry is another -dangerous , time wasting and money wasting. Cutting of verges can be reduced and limited to junctions and tricky spots. Where there are no roadside footways parish councils should be identifying the need for continued cutting and NCC should be listening-I know that the grassed and gravelled footway beside the road that I used as a child to walk to school is now over grown and un walkable so the parish council has failed in its duty to protect it.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

  • This is cuts folks. Get used to it. More to come.

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Thursday, November 19, 2015

  • Dear EDP, you rightly 'kop it' for a general lack of journalistic effort or ambition (and some pretty embarrassing grammatical howlers) however on this occasion hats off to the headline writer. 'On verge of a decision over cutting of roadside grass', a tabloid worthy pun. Thank you and we'll done.

    Report this comment

    Rushallchap2

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • The roundabouts on the Gorleston approach to Great Yarmouth hardly send out a positive signals to so called tourists, but here's the rub, it's not just cost it is bureaucracy! Some are maintained by Highways Agency, others by Norfolk County Council and not forgetting GY Borough Council. Get these areas of inter-department communication and responsibility sorted, with all talking and aligning budgets must save a few bob as well as getting the job done.

    Report this comment

    The Lone Gunman

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • To stop cutting will make it much more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. On many country roads, if you try to step on the verge, you often have little idea whether you are stepping on to firm ground or into a hole. As plants grow, the roads will effectively become narrower, this is already happening on some larger roads as hedges intrude onto or into the carriageway. I have news for the enthusiasts who think this is a good idea, as is already happening, brambles, nettles and bracken are quite vigorous plants and will quickly dominate and drive out other plants. Making the roads even more unfriendly for all road users - costs in damages claims will go up.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • Well done Dan, finally made the big time!

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt7

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • This article is trending on reddit

    Report this comment

    Mooseyt7

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • Think how much less grass to cut when the NDR is built. When grass is cut you get more variety growing because it reduces competition - just a thought...

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • £84,000 saving over 6,000 miles of road is a drop in the ocean compared to wastage elsewhere. How about cutting back or pruning some councillors attendance allowances by 5%? If they go ahead then expect a change of tune when an uncut verge results in fatalities. Nero fiddled as Rome burned so the saying goes and there are other more import issues such as the much slated Childrens Services Department that deserve attention.

    Report this comment

    Michael Clintergate

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • Actually wild flowers flourish more because of the current policy. The verges, when cut properly are cut before plants flower and birds nest (not that many nest in road verges because of the rubbish normally found there. This is usually just a double swathe cut. Later when all the verges have grown again, and the plants animals etc. have finished there used to be a 3 swathe cut, cutting right back to field boundaries and a proper clearing around junctions. This seems to have been cut back (sorry no pun intended) in budget cuts (ouch). Hedges on corners are no longer trimmed yet are all growing longer and actually block vision at corners, road junctions and where footpaths cross. You can though all be thankful for these cuts as £128 million now has to be found over the next 3 years to pay for the road to nowhere . . . it is nothing to do with less govt. funding - and you haven't seen anything ye - white line repainting, stone chips on the roads, pothole repairs - all will go shortly.

    Report this comment

    manbythesea

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • "Hindering visibility", monkeynuts, like not being able to see either side of the junction you're trying to pull out of, thereby not seeing the cyclist or other road users on the main carriageway. At a minimum the junctions should be maintained and any encroachment into to carriageway (as this would affect all road users, especially less confident cyclists who may wish to keep to one side due to their slower speed) robustly and quickly dealt with. I agree that you should only travel at a speed where you can stop in the amount of road you can see clearly, but does that mean that all rural roads should end up at 10 mph when some simple verge maintenance would allow a much larger safety margin? Surely that's better for all road users?

    Report this comment

    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • 'Hindering visibility' Because slowing down and driving responsibly goes totally without mention (as usual) .

    Report this comment

    monkeynuts

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • Obviously there are plenty on here who can't read. It is made quite clear that junctions etc. where visibility is an issue would receive the necessary attention. I am in favour of this and think the wild flowers and other plants provide a wonderful sight as one moves around this rural region. Providing acres of habitat for insects and their consequent support of other species that rely on them for the next meal is a simple move we can make to maintain nature's delicate balances. For those who prefer the monotone green of mown grass over a wildflower display I feel sorry for you.

    Report this comment

    Green Ink from Tunbridge Wells

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • I can think of two crossroads on Plumstead Road where driving anything lower than a Transit is pretty plain dangerous. Credit where it's due: Great headline:-)

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • i will continue to cut the verge along my lane, and i expect my neighbors will as well. there is plenty of set a side around for wild life away from the roads.

    Report this comment

    ted

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • I sense a motorist bias in this article. People do walk both for pleasure and to take children to school and if lucky enough to get local employment to go to work. Getting onto a verge and being knee deep in nettles is not pleasant. I appreciate money has to be saved but people do have to get from A - B. To protect wildlife and reduce cutting time why not just have a strip cut the width of the mower. That would be wide enough for pedestrians to get in a safe place and flowers will still seed.

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • What about not only locals but tourists who haveto walk on the road or push a pram onto the road to avoid getting stung by the Grass and nettles covering the pavements, this is especially the risk when walking through Runton to Cromer.

    Report this comment

    edifir

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • 'Hindering visibility'. Oh goody. Does that mean they'll also be towing away cars and 4x4's that selfish idiots park on verges, often near junctions and blocking pedestrianised areas?

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

  • What a great idea. Lets stop cutting the verges, encourage wild life to grow and birds to nest all while reducing visibility causing potential hazards for motorists! And then the wildlife that manage not to get killed by walking or flying into the road that they're living right at the side of, we can just chop them up every other year anyway when it is cut back, by which time it will all be so overgrown that it will no doubt take more time and cost more money to cut. The great thing about wild life is they have a huge choice of places to set up home, so encouraging them at the roadside is just plain dumb and unnecessary. I wonder how many accidents it will cause at junctions, or bends with the reduced visibility. I know human errorbad driving plays a big part, but why make things worse?

    Report this comment

    Dude2013

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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