Overgrown hedges are putting lives in danger warns Green Party councillor

A Green Party councillor is calling for hedges to be cut back as they are putting people’s lives in danger, writes Local Democracy Reporter Donal McMahon.

Lisburn and Casltereagh City representative Simon Lee admits pruning the hedges is not ideal at this time of the year, but admitted there is little choice.

He said: “A pathway on the OId Saintfield Road near Knockbracken has become obstructed by an overgrown hedge forcing pedestrians on to the road.

“There has been a high volume of neglect of grass verges and hedges across the district to such an extent that something needs to be done immediately before it’s too late.

“Unfortunately, it is not ideal to be cutting away hedges at this time of year due to the habitats of small species, but when the safety of people is at risk, then there is no other choice.

“I understand that we have been going through tough economic times, but there needs to be a balance struck on the maintenance of grass verges and hedges. We need to get on top of this problem now.”

However, it would appear the concern’s of the Castlereagh South representative have not been heard by the Stormont department.

A DfI spokesperson, replying 24 hours later, said: “The department is not aware of any reports regarding Old Saintfield Road, however, grass cutting has commenced in the Lisburn Castlereagh Council area and all grass verges, which are maintained by DfI Roads in the council area are programmed to be completed by mid-July.

“The primary benefit associated with grass cutting carried out by the department is safety related and involves ensuring that visibility splays and sightlines are kept free from obstructions and that grass does not overgrow onto carriageways and footways.

“To do this roadside verges and sightlines are normally cut twice in the period April‑October, with sightlines at bends and junctions being cut more frequently as required to ensure public safety is not compromised.”

The public can report an issue with roadside verges at the NI Direct website at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/.

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