News - pavement obstruction warning

Prevent your hedges and trees becoming problems

A good time to trim back vegetation overhanging footpaths is when the bird nesting season (1st March until 31st August) is over. Highways officers ask householders to check and trim garden hedges and bushes between September and February rather than wait for an official reminder to arrive in the post.

Overhanging hedges and other vegetation can cause various problems. They can obscure road users’ views of potential dangers, and obstruct pavements for all, including people using mobility scooters and parents pushing prams.

Homeowners have a legal responsibility to look after their property boundaries and, if necessary, take action to prevent hedges and other vegetation obstructing adjacent roads and pavements.

"The owner or occupier of a property is legally responsible for ensuring adjacent roads and pavements are not obstructed by vegetation"

Although the Highways Act 1980 does not specify measurements for the overhanging vegetation, the requirements are:

  • For pedestrian areas, cut back to the boundary and a minimum headroom of 2.3 metres
  • For the carriageway and an area immediately adjacent to it, the requirement is to cut half a metre back from the boundary and a minimum headroom of 6 metres.

Bird nesting season is between March 1 and August 31, as defined by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, so cutting should be avoided between these dates unless required on safety grounds. If work is required, homeowners/occupiers must check first as nesting birds and their nests should not be harmed.

  • Click HERE for further information on tree and hedge maintenance responsibilities
  • If you spot a problem with overgrown vegetation, you can report it HERE

Autumn is a good time to trim deciduous bushes and trees and the absence of leaves makes it easier to see where to make the cuts on branches. Prune evergreen trees and hedges in the spring.

Vegetation – before cutting

Vegetation - before cutting

After cutting a sign is revealed

Vegetation-after