Laois road users are suffering car damage due to hedge overgrowth

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Laois road users  are suffering car damage due to hedge overgrowth

A lack of manpower in Laois County Council and “phenomenal” hedge growth during the year is causing car damage for Laois drivers.

Laois road users cars are being damaged by overgrown hedges according to Councillor John King.

"I got calls from two drivers saying it was costing them between €250 and €300 to replace wing mirrors. What pressure can be put on the landowners?" Cllr John King asked the council.

Councillor John King received the calls from drivers asking for hedges to be cut in the Rathdowney area at priority junctions after their trucks had been damaged by the overgrowth.

Laois County Council carry out hedge maintenance as appropriate on priority junctions and bends for the safety of all road users.

The Roads Act 1993 places the responsibility on landowners to maintain hedges/trees so that roads are free of hazards and/or obstructions.

Councillor King asked the council at the Borris-in-Ossory/Mountmellick Municipal District meeting on Thursday morning, what is the best way to approach landowners to ask them to trim back hedges themselves.

Laois County Council can carry out the hedge cutting and issue landowners with a bill but it said it is already working to full capacity within the hedge cutting season.

"A vast amount of hedge cutting takes place in Laois. When the summer is over it cannot be done, it is all about hedges and cars are getting damaged. I don't think it is possible for the council to get it done, we do not have the manpower," Said Cllr James Kelly.

"The growth has been phenomenal this year and we have a major problem out there," said Cllr Brendan Phelan.

"Without upsetting the environmentalists out there - can we extend the [hedge cutting] season?" Cllr James Kelly asked.

Cllr John King responded saying that extending the hedge cutting season would not solve the problem and that the council need to make landowners aware that the responsibility is on them.

Cllr David Goodwin advised wisdom when approaching landowners on the issue.

"I think that a lot of organisations are hiding behind this. I would caution wisdom about how we do it," Cllr Goodwin said.

Cllr Goodwin explained that farmers or landowners might not have the equipment to carry out their own hedge cutting or that contractors they hire might not have the equipment on hand at this time of the year.