Grass cutting along Warwickshire's roads underway by the county council's teams

Warwickshire County Council’s grass cutters are out in force as they continue their annual roadside grass cutting operations

Warwickshire County Council’s grass cutters are out in force as they continue their annual roadside grass cutting operations. Photo by Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council’s grass cutters are out in force as they continue their annual roadside grass cutting operations. Photo by Warwickshire County Council

The crew has been cutting the rural verges in one metre swathes safeguarding the highways, making sure they are safe to use, free from obstructions and providing a safe refuge for pedestrians to step off the carriageway, where appropriate.

The cutting began last week and takes around three weeks to complete.

The county council is responsible for maintaining around 25 million square metres of highway verge and separates verge maintenance into rural and non-rural sites.

The County Highways team carries out the mowing in rural areas that typically have speed limits over 40mph.

For verges situated in towns and villages that typically have a speed limit of 40mph or less, mowing is usually carried out on the county council’s behalf by the relevant district or borough council, or a contractor.

For those verges in rural settings, County Highways carries out mowing three times per year.

The verges, as well as junctions and bends, are mown to a ‘safety’ standard, with the purpose of ensuring visibility and maintaining safety.

This means preventing obstruction of sight lines, road traffic signs, barriers and other structures, as well as preventing encroachment of vegetation on to the carriageway and helping to provide a safe refuge for pedestrians to step off the carriageway, if there are no footways, and to stop unwanted species establishing.

Cllr Wallace Redford, portfolio holder for road safety said: “We have a responsibility to maintain road safety for all road users, but we also have a responsibility to foster sustainability.

"When verges are left to grow wild, they can play an important ecological role acting as corridors connecting areas of habitat and providing food and shelter for many species.

“Our next step is to explore how we might adjust our own rural cutting regime to improve biodiversity and create wildlife corridors as well consider how we might be able to engage with local communities to adjust and reduce the number of verge cuts, within towns and villages, to enable the existing flora and fauna to flourish.”

For more information go to: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/grassverge