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Advice on Hedge and tree maintenance from Cornwall Council

You’ll be aware that unmanaged hedges have big implications for our local communities. They can cause safety issues by limiting access for road users, including vital emergency services, gritting, and refuse vehicles.

As well as identifying locations through regular inspections and reports, we often enlist help from town and parish councils to identify locations where vegetation is obstructing the highway. We also ask for local co-operation from landowners or occupiers to deal with any overhanging vegetation, hedges, and trees. Where we need to give advice on the course of action, we sometimes find a landowner isn’t registered, so your local knowledge and insight is invaluable to us. We would like to ask for your support by reminding landowners to make sure any trees or hedges are trimmed back prior to 1st March. Working in partnership with landowners, and particularly the farming community, is vital in ensuring a safe and accessible highway network while safeguarding important habitats.

Where a landowner or occupier’s co-operation is not gained, Cornwall Council will issue a formal notice for the work to be carried out. If the notice is ignored and action is not taken, the council will request that we carry out any work and seek to recover the cost. However, we would much rather we didn’t have to resort to such measures.

The attached fact sheet helps to explain the role we play, and signposts to all the information you need to know about maintaining hedges and trees alongside Cornwall’s roads. Over the past year we have seen an increase in the number of enquiries relating to Ash dieback. Previously known as Chalara, this is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called hymenoscyphus fraxineus, and was first confirmed in Britain in 2012.

In response, we are adapting our operational activity and working closely with our colleagues in Cornwall Council. We have been increasing our monitoring and survey work, and this will continue through the year so that we can better understand the scale of the issues and the progress of the disease. Inspections are carried out by our professionally trained arboriculture officers in line with national guidance and industry best practice. We have also trained many of our staff, known as ‘competent officers’, to increase knowledge and skills around the identification of tree defects. This is further complemented by our reactive service, which responds to any concerns raised through the reporting system.

By acting now, we can help to build resilience in our local landscapes. We can help to identify and manage any possible risks connected to our roads, and the environmental assets we maintain. For more information, advice, and support about Ash dieback we would encourage you to visit Cornwall Council’s website. Details can be found at the Environment and Planning section of the Cornwall Council website (link opens in a new tab).