As nature begins to reawaken with the onset of spring, East Sussex County Council has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of overhanging vegetation.
The authority says overgrown trees and hedges can force people – particularly wheelchair users and parents with push chairs – into the road, putting their safety at risk.
Meanwhile vegetation which overhangs roads can cause a danger to motorists, especially to drivers of high-sided vehicles such as lorries or buses.
The Cut It Back campaign, being promoted through posters and social media, aims to raise awareness of the fact that maintenance of trees and hedges growing on private land is the responsibility of the property or landowner.
Roger Williams, East Sussex County Council head of highways, said: “Overhanging trees and hedges which are not properly maintained can cause a real danger to pedestrians and motorists.
“People who have property bordering the road or footway may not realise it’s their responsibility to ensure vegetation is not causing a danger or obstruction, or blocking off light from a street lamp.
“We would strongly encourage people to maintain their trees and hedges responsibly and to inspect them regularly during the growing season.”
People are advised to ensure the footway is clear of vegetation to a height of 8ft (2.5m) and the road is clear to a height of 17ft (5.1m) and 1.8ft (0.5m) from the edge of the road towards their property.
If made aware of any problems caused by overhanging vegetation, the council’s highways team will write to the landowner asking them to cut it back.
If no action is taken, the council may get its own staff to cut back the tree or hedge and bill the landowner.
More information about cutting of hedges and trees is available online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/hedges