Landowners are being reminded that now is the time for hedge-cutting.

Under the Roads Act, 1993, landowners are obliged to ensure that trees, ditches, hedges and other vegetation growing on their land are not a danger to people using or working on a public road or public footpath.

Cork County Council is trying to raise awareness of the need to maintain road-side trees and hedges.

Landowners are also reminded that liability for damage or injury resulting from such hazards will rest with them.

Hedge-cutting season

“Uncut hedges and trees are a serious road safety hazard and can cause substantial damage to vehicles, particularly heavy goods vehicles,” the council said.

“Examples of hazards include: dead or dying trees; ditches or hedges interfering with traffic; blocking footpaths; obscuring road signs; public lighting; or road users’ visibility.

“Landowners/occupiers are required to fell, cut, log, trim or remove such trees, ditches and hedges.

“Particular attention should be given to damaged or weakened trees or limbs and stumps of felled trees as a result of storms and that all necessary work should be carried out while hedges are dormant between the start of September and the end of February.”

The council added that hedgerows are vital to biodiversity and “it’s important that landowners keep in mind that any cutting, grubbing and burning of vegetation on uncultivated land between March 1 and August 31, is prohibited under the Wildlife Act”.

Roadside hedgerows “make up only a small percentage of the overall hedgerows in the county” the council said, and landowners are encouraged to keep themselves informed on “protecting wildlife and promoting biodiversity on their lands”.

The council also reminds landowners that notices may be served on those who do not comply with their statutory obligations.

There is provision in the legislation for some restricted exemptions from the prohibition during the closed period, such as for works undertaken in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry and for public health and safety reasons.