‘Lazy’ drivers churning up St Albans district’s grass verges

A ST ALBANS retiree is blaming lazy drivers for turning the district’s verges into “muddy eyesores.”

Peter Wares, who has sent the Herts Advertiser photographic proof of vehicles being driven and parked on grass borders and paving in St Albans, has singled out parents as being the worst offenders.

With taxpayers ultimately paying for costly reinstatement of churned-up verges, the district council is also hoping to deter errant drivers by considering a range of preventative measures including wheel clamping.

Mr Wares said he was very concerned about the scarring of “many of our green verges around the district.”

He went on: “Damage being inflicted to the district’s grass verges and paving is at an all-time high. Wherever you travel to in St Albans you will be confronted by muddy and unsightly verges caused by drivers parking on them, and damaging paving.

“Parents who pick up their children from school in their cars are among the worst offenders. These drivers seem to have no respect for the local environment or of the people living on these roads. These drivers may only be parked there for a few moments but over time the damage is very visible and an eyesore to the area.”

Mr Wares added: “The time has come for the district and county councils to work together to stop these vandals turning green verges into muddy eyesores.”

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He has written about his “niggle” to district councillors Julian Daly and Rob Prowse, as both are members of the newly-established verge protection joint working group.

In a report on the problem presented to a recent Highways Joint Member Panel, Herts Highways’ area service manager for Mid-Herts, Danny Kyan, included a list of possible ways to tackle acute verge damage.

He suggested:

n As it is an offence to deposit anything on the highway that damages it or obstructs traffic, an option might be to introduce building material licences to control delivery of construction items;

n Under Common Law the highway authority is entitled to recover expenses incurred in repairing damage or removing an obstruction, as a civil claim of public nuisance. However burden of proof is on the highway authority, for example evidence may include witness statements and photographic evidence;

n Possible future consideration of vehicle clamping might provide a greater deterrent when it comes to verge parking violation damage enforcement;

n In exceptional circumstances where a driver is repeatedly driving over verges, a court injunction could be sought to prevent the recurring activity together with an order to recover costs to remedy any damage.

Cllr Daly, chairman of the joint panel, said: “Grass verges are being chewed up and being replaced all the time. Repair costs are substantial.”

He said the working party would consider Mr Kyan’s suggestions as it was looking at various controls to protect footways and grass borders following complaints from residents who have become frustrated with the situation.