Each year the Town Council and the County Council highways team receive numerous complaints from members of the public regarding overgrown hedges obstructing pedestrians from walking on the pavements or obstructing visibility for car drivers.
This is a particular issue in Chudleigh where, due to the rather narrow pavements we have, it doesn’t take a lot of vegetative overgrowth to force walkers into the carriageway. That creates obvious dangers, particularly if the pedestrian is pushing a buggy or similar.
The purpose of this article is to remind householders and land owners that they are responsible for keeping their hedges cut so that they do not create an inconvenience to other members of the public.
Many hedge owners have concerns about cutting hedges during the bird nesting season, which is generally considered to be 1 March to 31 July. Certainly, it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly to damage or destroy the nests of wild birds. It’s a good idea to look critically at your hedge during February and cut back any growth over hanging the roadside. That will hopefully contain it enough so that it can be cut again in August or September.
However, at the end of the day public safety outweighs seasonal restrictions on the timing of hedge cutting. If speed of growth means that your hedge is causing an obstruction in the March to July period it needs to be cut. Natural England advise that, before cutting, you should carefully look for nests or signs of nesting activity.