Landowners asked to tidy up ahead of winter

SERP trees

Ahead of the winter months, Essex County Council is asking anyone with a garden or land bordering a road to make sure that ditches are cleared and overhanging trees are cut back.

During storm Aileen earlier this month, highways crews were contacted about 21 separate incidents where trees blocked roads in Essex.

The council has the power to issue enforcement notices to landowners in cases where blocked ditches cause roads to flood – or where branches and vegetation are found to be obstructing the highway.

Pavements should be kept entirely free of plant growth up to a height of 8ft (2.5m), while roads should be clear to a height of 17ft (5.1m) and 1.8ft (0.5m) from the edge of the road

Essex County Council recommends the use of fully qualified and insured contractors to undertake any necessary work.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council cabinet member for highways, said:

“Ditches are the responsibility of landowners, even if they are next to the road.

“Blocked ditches cause flooding which in winter can turn into highly dangerous ice on the road so please do clear them now to avoid putting driver and pedestrians in unnecessary danger.

“Landowners also have responsibility for any trees near the road. These should be regularly checked and cut to prevent large branches or the whole tree blowing down and blocking the road.

“People walking along the pavement or verge shouldn’t have to avoid overgrown trees or hedges.

“I’m sure everyone will want to act responsibly and take care of their own boundaries, to keep all of us safer this winter.”

Highway flooding can be reported directly to Essex County Council via its website or by calling 0345 6037 631.


27 September 2017

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