LAND and property owners in East Sussex are being urged to protect the public by cutting back trees and hedges which overhang the public highway.
East Sussex County Council is warning that overhanging vegetation causes a danger to road users – in particular high-sided vehicles such as buses or HGVs – and can block light from street lamps.
Meanwhile, vegetation which obstructs pavements also puts pedestrians at risk, including disabled people and parents with push chairs, who may be forced into the road.
The council is reminding landowners – including householders, business owners and farmers – that it’s their responsibility to have their trees regularly inspected and to cut back trees or hedges which overhang roads or pavements.
Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for transport and environment, said: “Overhanging trees or hedges which are not properly maintained create a real danger to motorists and pedestrians.
“People who own property bordering the highway need to be aware that it’s their duty to ensure vegetation is properly maintained in order to protect the public.”
Tom Ormesher, National Farmers Union (NFU) South East environment and land use adviser said: “We’d remind all our members to play their part in maintaining roadside hedges as maintenance is critical for road safety.
“With complex patterns of land ownership in East Sussex farmers are among those who can cut back trees and hedges along rural roads.”
Property owners are advised to ensure the pavement bordering their land is clear of vegetation to a height of 8ft (2.5m) and the road is clear to 17ft (5.1m).
If made aware of any problems caused by overhanging vegetation, East Sussex Highways can write to the landowner asking them to cut it back.
If no action is taken, Highways may use its own staff to cut back the tree or hedge and bill the landowner.
People can report overhanging vegetation which is obstructing the road online at www.eastsussexhighways.com