Some Mid Ulster roadsides resemble ‘a jungle’

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A Mid Ulster councillor has said some roadsides in the district are beginning to resemble “a jungle.”

Hitting out at the lack of grass cutting and hedge trimming, DUP Councillor Ann Forde said Transport NI needed to take action to address the problem.

“We have received a number of complaints from members of the public, particularly at Drumard Road, Knockloughrim, concerned at the situation and have raised it with the department,” she said.

“Grass is growing over road signs and impeding the view of motorists at road ends. Not only is it unsightly but it also raises safety issues.”

SDLP Councillor Martin Kearney said he has made representations to Transport NI and was disappointed to confirm that only a minimal road maintenance services can be provided in rural areas.

“This will guarantee only one cutting of hedges and verges in the current financial year. This lack of maintenance is having a disproportionate effect on road safety for our rural communities,” he said.

“In these circumstances I particularly applaud both farmers and rural dwellers who have taken the initiative in keeping hedges and verges trimmed. I would also like appeal to all road users in rural areas to take extreme caution, particularly at road junctions.

“Regrettably, this situation is unlikely to be resolved in the near future and is a consequence of both the recent financial cutbacks and the failure of the Stormont Executive to agree a budget.”

TransportNI spokesperson yesterday said: “The objective of TransportNI in cutting grass on its lands, is to prevent overgrowth onto carriageways and footway surfaces and the obstruction of sightlines and traffic signs. Grass cutting operations are therefore carried out for road safety reasons and not for cosmetic or amenity purposes.

“Normally TransportNI aims to cut grass verges in rural areas twice annually with urban areas being cut five times annually with sightlines at bends and junctions being cut as often as required for road safety purposes.”