Updated: 14/11/17 : 12:12:52
Sligo County Council is to consider the implementation of a community hedge cutting grant following a motion by Leas Cathaoirleach Cllr Keith Henry at its November meeting.
Cllr Henry had tabled the motion in September but deferred it twice to allow the Council to prepare figures on the amount they are already spending on hedge cutting, figures he is still awaiting.
The Ballymote based Councillor said that ‘’the law should be black or white on this not grey. The council cut some roads but don’t cut others. I fully respect that the law says it is the landowner’s duty and I thank those who do cut them. However there are absentee landowners, forestry lands the some who don’t cut hedges which leads to a road safety concern on some roads. The members of the public contact me about overgrown hedges and all the Council can do is issue a letter which often is ignored and not acted upon’’.
‘’My motion calls for the council to introduce a scheme where groups of farmers, or neighbours can apply for a grant for €50 per kilometer. It would make it more transparent than cutting some hedges and not others and also allow people to take it into their own hands to improve their local roads’’ Cllr Henry said.
Cllr Henry informed the council that other local authorities are running similar schemes ‘’Leitrim, Mayo, Clare and Cork are just a few so I can’t see why we can’t do something to help the people in our rural areas to drive safely on roads. I’ve also been aware of a case taken against Roscommon County Council regarding hedge cutting which was found against the side of the Council so this is a tricky issue.’’
He concluded by saying ‘’if the council’s letters aren’t working or people or organisations can’t be identified as responsible then we can’t just sit back and do nothing. Either implement the law firmly which is a costly process or provide a democratic and transparent scheme such as the one I propose’’.