Image demonstrating Grass cutting programme on verge of completion

Grass cutting programme on verge of completion

An ambitious programme of extra verge cutting has ensured that Northumberland is looking its best ahead of the main tourist season.

The county council drafted in extra resources ahead of the summer season, increasing the number of tractors with specialist cutting equipment and aiming to carry out additional grass cutting along highway verges across the county.

Progress has been swift, with 96% of all scheduled cuts completed, with the remaining scheduled verge cutting done before the end of July.

This is a significant improvement on last year’s performance. At the same time in July 2016 only 16% of scheduled cuts had been done and it was October before all the cuts had been completed.

The work is vital  to ensure that vegetation does not restrict visibility for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to the road safety benefits, these works also improve the look of an area and keeps the network in better condition by preventing plants taking hold on the side of roads.

The improvement will now also allow the teams time to return and undertake a second cut at key junctions, leading to further improvements in road safety.

There are a small number of verges that have been left intentionally uncut at the request of ecology groups to maintain flower-rich habitats in specific areas of interest and these will be cut later in the season.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “I’m delighted at the progress we’ve made so far, which improves road safety and has the added benefit of helping make the county look really neat, tidy and well maintained.

“One of our priorities is to improve the condition of the road network and invest in improvements that benefit everyone. This is a great example of where the council has identified a quick win that will bring longer term benefits.

“We’ve taken immediate steps to focus on verge cutting and extra weeding to ensure Northumberland is looking its best ahead of the main tourist season.

“I am very grateful to all staff for their great and much appreciated efforts in getting this work done so quickly and efficiently.”
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