This section sets out the responsibilities of landowners in relation to maintenance of roadside trees, hedges and drainage. It should be noted that the public road extends from fence to fence and includes footpaths/grass verges and roadside drains.
Trees and Hedges
Section 70 Roads Act 1993
The maintenance of roadside trees, hedges and other vegetation is the responsibility of the landowner on whose land they are growing. Landowners should ensure that trees, hedges or other vegetation are maintained in such condition that they are not a hazard to road users and that they do not interfere with the maintenance of the public road. In particular, branches, which jut out onto the road, should be cut back. Dead and unsafe trees should be removed and hedges should be cut and trimmed. It is recommended that professional advice on the condition of roadside trees should be obtained from time to time. When landowners are maintaining hedges or trees, all reasonable care should be taken to ensure the safety of road users while this work is being carried out.
It is also important to remember that hedges provide shelter for nesting birds and small animals. Hedge cutting should not be undertaken (except for essential public health, safety or road works) during the growth season, which is between 1 March and 31 August.
Please be aware of your responsibilities in relation to Invasive Species.
Landowners are encouraged to protect wildlife and promote biodiversity on all their hedgerows (including non-roadside hedges) and information on this is available on pollinators.ie.
Section 76 of the Roads Act 1993
As a landowner it is your responsibility to maintain drains on your land. This is of the utmost importance during adverse weather conditions.
It is also your responsibility to ensure that:
- Water is not prevented, or obstructed, from draining onto, under or through your land from the public road. Consequently, the drainage system should be adequately maintained.
- Water, soil, slurry or other material does not flow onto a public road from your land.
- Entrances to land are piped with adequately sized pipes or culverts and regularly maintained.
Written consent is required from Wicklow County Council before a landowner deepens or widens an existing drain, or digs a new drain, within 15 metres of the nearest edge of the public road. Otherwise, consent is not required for the normal maintenance of the drain. It is an offence to interfere with, or carry out, any works that interfere with a bridge, culvert, retaining wall, embankment or other structure providing lateral or other support for a public road.
Wicklow County Council wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of those landowners and occupiers of land who are, and have been, complying with their responsibilities down through the years.
The Roads Act 1993 (as amended) provides that in cases where landowners fail to comply with their obligations, the Council may take whatever necessary action to ensure compliance. Please note that fines up to €1,270, and/or six months in prison, may be applicable.