Council ‘not responsible’ for roadside hedges

A growth surge in vegetation along roadways is creating extra traffic hazards for local people and the large numbers of tourists currently visiting Kerry, it has been claimed.

Despite demands for action to improve sight distances for drivers, cyclists, and walkers, however, Kerry County Council has insisted that it is not responsible for the maintenance of roadside hedges.

Instead, owners or occupiers of land have an obligation under the Roads Act 1993 to ensure trees, shrubs and hedges do not cause hazards, or obstruction, a council spokesman said.

Independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae said the most commonly asked question put to him was why the council had ceased its previous practice of cutting roadside hedges.

“A lot of roads are now closing in, causing a hazard to walkers and motorists,” he said.

“I would ask that the members [councillors] and management would consider going on a tour of the roads in the county that are closed in by bushes and trees.’’

He warned a serious accident could be caused unless action was taken.

Independent councillor Brendan Cronin said the council had spent a lot of money improving sight distance at numerous bends and junctions but, in many cases, such places were now “totally overgrown’’.

Roads engineers, pointing out there had been unprecedented growth in recent weeks, said they would try to keep these areas clear of obstructions, but added that reduced roads budgets made it difficult to deal with all aspects of maintenance.

Road safety was also highlighted by Labour councillor Sean Counihan, who called for action to have trees “topped’’ and examined on the left side of the Fossa Rd area of Killarney.

He proposed that the council write to the National Roads Authority which, in turn, would contact Fáilte Ireland with a view to getting work done on the trees.

Also, the council’s roads enforcement officer is to inspect the location and, if deemed necessary, the landowner will be asked to carry out an assessment of the trees.

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