The Department of Infrastructure has scaled back its operations in relation to hedge cutting and weed prevention and removal.
Most hedges bordering the highway in both town and country belong to the landowner and it is their responsibility to ensure that these do not obstruct users of the highway. Where owners are not undertaking the necessary work the Department will continue to undertake cutting to ensure that the basic safety of the highway is maintained. This includes removing growth where it is obstructing the highway or obstructing sight lines or signage. The Department may re-charge land owners for undertaking this work.
There are some environmental benefits in reducing the cuts which allows hedgerows to take on a more natural look, to flower and also enabling wildlife to flourish.
The Department no longer has sufficient budgets to proactively remove weeds across the island; however, it has been rolling out a programme of systemic weed killer spraying in towns and villages and along main roads and in Douglas, Castletown, Peel and Onchan it has entered into agency agreements to work through the Local Authority to undertake that work.
It would be of assistance if householders and businesses could remove weeds from outside their own properties where they are physically able and it is safe to do so. Leonard Singer MHK, Member with responsibility for Highways said:
'We have to recognise that there is simply less money available for some services and the Department has faced tough choices in prioritising its expenditure. In this case, whilst less work will be done, there are environmental benefits to wildlife.'