Keep the highway clear and safe to use

The cutting back of highway hedges and trees is the responsibility of the landowner or occupier on whose land the hedges and trees are growing. It is the responsibility of all landowners or occupiers to ensure that their hedges and trees do not interfere with the safe use of public footways and roadways or obscure street lights and road signs. Wiltshire Council as the Highway Authority has a duty to ensure that landowners and occupiers recognise their responsibilities to keep public highways clear of their overgrowing hedges and trees for the benefit of all highway users, whether they are drivers of vehicle, cyclists, equestrians or pedestrians which include pram and wheelchair users, the disabled and the visually impaired. Rather than wait for complaints about vegetation obstructing highways, Wiltshire Council enlists the help of Town and Parish Councils to identify those locations where problems exist so they may seek local co-operation of landowners or occupiers to deal with any offending hedges and trees on an informal basis.

Should a landowner or occupier’s co-operation not be gained, then the Town or Parish Council will inform Wiltshire Council’s highways department so that further action may be considered. Wiltshire Council can issue a formal notice for the work to be undertaken, and if that is ignored, they can do the work and recover the cost of doing so from the landowner or occupier. If an accident happens attributable to the overhanging vegetation, this exposes the owner or occupier responsible for the hedges or trees to a claim from the injured or damaged party. Please work with us to make our highways a safer place.

Before carrying out any tree work you must check if a tree is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Please also remember that part of Whiteparish is in a Conservation Area and the owner/occupier has to comply with those regulations which applies to trees. A copy of the Whiteparish Conservation Area can be found on the Parish Council website along with a link to the regulations.

Public rights of way within Wiltshire are recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement. The Definitive Map and Statement for Wiltshire dates from the early 1950s and was created under the terms of the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act. It forms a legal record of the public rights of way - footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic - that exist in the county of Wiltshire. The Definitive Map shows the route of public rights of way and the Definitive Statement provides a written record of each route. It should be noted that not all paths have a width recorded in the statement and anyone enquiring about the width of a particular path should contact Wiltshire Council for advice. If a route is shown on the Definitive Map then that is legal, conclusive evidence that the public have those rights and retain them still.

You can view the Definitive Statement for Whiteparish on the Parish Council website.

Definitions: Vegetation - This includes trees, hedges, shrubs and any other organic growth.

Birds’ nests. Care should be taken to avoid damaging or destroying the nests of wild birds while they are either being built or used (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981).