Overhanging branches face the chop

Survey shows they are major hazard for the disabled


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Anyone who wishes to report a tree or hedge overhanging the public highway should telephone 020 8871 6708.

Residents with front garden hedges or trees are being urged to keep them under control as part of a council campaign to remove hazards from pavements for blind and disabled people.

Groups representing disabled people have asked the council to ensure that households keep their garden vegetation properly trimmed and prevent it from encroaching onto pavements and footpaths.

A recent survey found that 95 per cent of blind or partially sighted people cited overhanging vegetation as one of the biggest problems they face when travelling. Now the council is calling on households with hedges and trees to make sure they are pruned regularly and not left to grow out over the public highway.

Executive member for planning and transportation Cllr Guy Senior said: "Many able-bodied people probably won't have given this issue a second thought, but to blind and disabled people it's a major problem. I would urge anyone with a front garden hedge or tree near a footpath to regularly cut this vegetation back and keep it in check. This simple act will do a lot to improve the quality of life for disabled people and those who are blind or partially sighted."

The council will be conducting a survey of overhanging foliage between now and October. People with tree branches or hedges that are overhanging the public highway and posing a hazard to pedestrians will receive letters asking them to cut them back within 14 days. If the letters are ignored, the council will carry out the necessary work and bill the owners.

June 9, 2006