Devon County Council has issued a reminder to landowners, farmers and residents to cut roadside hedges, trees and shrubs in order to prevent overgrown vegetation creating a road safety hazard.
Under the Highways Act 1980, landowners can be prosecuted if their roadside hedges, shrubs or trees are found to be a contributory factor to an accident. This not only applies to vegetation at the sides of roads, but also adjacent to footpaths, cycleways and public rights of way.
Where road safety is not a problem, people are recommended to trim roadside hedges in January and February as this helps to ensure that berries and nuts are left for wildlife as long as possible. No trimming should take place during the main bird breeding-season of March to July inclusive, unless unavoidable for safety reasons.
Some bird nesting may take place beyond this period, for example the rare Cirl Bunting found in South Devon which can breed into August and early September. Climate change has also advanced the onset of breeding for some species, Robins and Blackbirds can now also be found nesting in February.
Devon County Council has produced a free leaflet giving advice on the maintenance of roadside hedges and trees. Copies can be obtained from the county council’s website at call 0845 1551004 or email [email protected]