Landowners reminded to keep hedges pruned
A COUNCILLOR who walks the highways and byways of the county on a regular basis has asked the council to remind landowners of their responsibilities to keep hedges and trees pruned so they don't obstruct the public pathway.
Cllr. David O'Connor (NP) is a member of the Fingal Walking Group and has walked many of the county's rural roads over the years.
He asked the council what laws there are in place to mandate property owners to 'keep hedges pruned to prevent obstruction of public pathways and roads from projecting or overhanging branch growth'.
The council's operations department said that the laws governing this area were under the Roads Act of 1993.
The law obliges the owner or occupier of land to 'take all reasonable steps to ensure that trees, shrubs, etc. on the land are not a hazard or potential hazard to road users and that they do not obstruct or interfere with the safe use of, or maintenance of a public road'.
The legislation also allows a road authority to serve a notice on the owner or occupier of the land requiring the preservation, felling, cutting, lopping, trimming or removal within a specified period, of any tree, shrub, etc. which is a hazard or potential hazard to road users, road safety etc and to remove all cuttings and trimmings.
The law entitles the person on whom a notice is served to appeal against the notice within 14 days to the District Court, which may confirm the notice with or without modification or annul it.
But the act makes it an offence for an owner or occupier of land to fail to comply with a notice and, in such circumstances, allows the road authority to take the action specified in the notice or such other action as it thinks fit, and to recover any reasonable costs incurred from the owner or occupier as a simple contract debt in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Finally, the council said the legislation 'allows a road authority to take immediate action to reduce, remove the hazard where it considers that a tree, shrub, hedge or other vegetation presents an immediate and serious hazard to persons using a public road'.