Council has 'no plans' to alter verge cutting schedule in Suffolk

The overgrown verges at the junction of Bell Lane and Foxhall Road in Ipswich.

The verges at the junction of Bell Lane and Foxhall Road in Ipswich that appear to be overgrown. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Suffolk Highways says it has "no plans" to alter its rural roads verge cutting - despite long grass at a number of junctions.

The AA says tall grass at junctions can lead to safety issues for drivers.

Suffolk Highways though says its grass-cutting programme is on schedule, with the first cut for A and B roads completed in May.

This is despite recent warm weather potentially causing higher than normal levels of growth, with some junctions, like at Bell Lane / Foxhall Road, appearing to be affected by high grass verges.

The overgrown verges at the junction of Bell Lane and Foxhall Road in Ipswich.

The verge appears to be overwhelming the Bell Lane sign at the junction with Foxhall Road. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Head of roads policy for the AA, Jack Cousens said: “Drivers are very supportive of wildflower roadside verges as it helps the environment, increases biodiversity and helps beautify our roads.

“However, local authorities should ensure that safety remains paramount and should still cut back verges where lines of sight are blocked at junctions.

“The phrase ‘sorry, I just didn’t see you’ is sadly heard all too often following a collision.

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"While this is usually due to a driver not looking properly, the likelihood of a crash can increase if lines of sight are obstructed.”

The overgrown verges at the junction of Bell Lane and Foxhall Road in Ipswich.

Head of roads policy for the AA, Jack Cousens says "the likelihood of a crash can increase if lines of sight are obstructed.” - Credit: Denise Bradley

Suffolk Highways said it carries out cyclic grass cutting of all rural highway verges, twice a year for A and B roads and once a year for C and U roads.

The authority said: "For all cyclical grass cuts we cut a 1.2 metre swathe (from the road edge), visibility splays at junctions, bends, and the base of signposts to ensure good visibility is maintained.

"Often verges are wider than 1.2 metres and vegetation beyond this point will remain largely untouched at these locations.

"The cyclic grass cutting program is currently on schedule with Suffolk Highways completing the first A & B road cut in May 2022, we are already carrying out the cyclic cut on the C & U roads, once complete we will move back onto the A and B roads for their final cut of the season.

The overgrown verges at the junction of Bell Lane and Foxhall Road in Ipswich.

Suffolk Highways say there are no plans to alter their grass cutting schedule. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"There are currently no plans to alter the existing schedule, but Suffolk Highways will continue to monitor the road network on a regular basis as part of the statutory safety inspections undertaken on the highway.

"Under the Highways Act 1980, Suffolk County Council as the highway authority has a duty of care to maintain the public highway to enable the safe passage of highway users.

"If a verge has become overgrown and is possibly reducing the visibility splay at junctions to a level that is unacceptable that meets the defect criteria in the Highways Maintenance Operational Plan, Suffolk Highways will arrange for the grass verge / vegetation to be cut back."

Suffolk highways is encouraging people to report any concerns or problem areas here. 

Have you noticed any overgrown verges in your area? If so feel free to send them to: SuffolkEditors@archant.co.uk