Grass cutting starts in St Albans district - hopes for better job than last year

Long grass verges in Hatfield Road

Long grass verges in Hatfield Road - Credit: Archant

Grass cutting of verges and hedges is underway in the St Albans district - and county council contractors Ringway are hoping it will all go more smoothly than last year.

March marks the start of the growing season and grass cutting varies in frequency between two and six times a season or when the grass reaches a certain height according to whether it is designated as an urban or rural category.

The type of cut, frequency or height is guided by the location and takes into account safety for motorists and walkers, as well as how the area is used. ‘Heritage’ verges are cut once a year to protect wild flowers and wildlife habitat.

Other considerations which come into play before verges are trimmed are allowing spring bulbs to die naturally so that they can flower again the following year, the need to complete utility works and whether saturation allows Ringway to cut a verge while keeping damage to a minimum.

Last year - the first year the county council took over the contract from St Albans district council - Ringway came under fire over the overgrown condition of the verges, particularly in the St Stephen and Jersey Farm areas.

The contractors later admitted that it had encountered problems taking over the job including the need to learn about the geography of the area, the warm and wet growing conditions and damage to a component on the mowers.

Terry Douris, the county council’s cabinet member for highways, said this week: “Grass cutting and verge maintenance is one element of the wide-ranging highways works we undertake each year to sustain and improve Hertfordshire’s 3,000 miles of roads.”