FEARS that miles of uncut grass are posing a danger to drivers in rural areas have been raised.
Verges have been left “an absolute mess” in Burnley Road, Bacup Road, Rossendale Road and New Road, Cliviger. Residents have said it is making it difficult for motorists pulling out of junctions to see where they are going.
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Council bosses have promised the first cut of the year will be carried out next week, but warned budget cuts have had an impact on the flexibility of the grass cutting scheme.
Cliviger councillor David Heginbotham said: “None of the verges have been cut by the council. Some have been cut by volunteers. They are an absolute mess all around the rural areas.
“They have not cut them at all this year. There’s miles of it. It’s a disgusting mess.”
Citing the Red Lees Avenue junction with Burnley Road as a particular problem, he said: “When cars are coming to the junction, the grass is that high you can’t even see. It’s two foot high. It’s a danger for drivers. Either way your sight is impaired.
“Burnley Road is a very busy road.
“Some people have been cutting the verges themselves, but that’s unlawful.
“They all care about the area and that’s why they are doing it.”
Cllr Andrew Newhouse, who also represents Cliviger, said the issue had been raised at parish council meetings.
“We have had people reporting problems with some grass verges growing in excessive length.
“It’s obscuring the vision on certain roads. It’s dangerous.
“The edges are going out into the road which is obstructing the view of traffic.
“I was advised they are on a strict timetable. It’s not acceptable. They need cutting.
“They get cut twice a year and it always seems to be the same year after year.
“The policy is to leave it as long as possible. It needs looking at and it needs to be more flexible. They should come and do it when it’s needed.
“When they are trying to save money it’s always services like getting the grass cut that go first. They should be saving money elsewhere.”
However Cllr Cosima Towneley said it was much better for wildlife.
“The rural parts look much nicer with natural flora rather than cut grass,” she said.
“If people are finding confusing or dangerous they are probably driving too fast and should temper their driving.”
Mick Dand, area highways manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “The council has had to accommodate reductions in spending in many areas of the budget to contribute to huge savings we need to make due to ongoing cuts in the funding we receive from government and rising demand for services.
“Some of these savings have been made by making highways maintenance operations as efficient as they can be.
“We have always cut the grass verges along the faster rural roads twice a year, and will continue to do this, with the first cut due to begin next week, and a further cut scheduled for September.
“In the past when budgets allowed we sometimes carried out another cut if necessary, but there is no longer this flexibility which means people may notice a difference at certain times of the year.”
A spokesperson for Burnley Council said: “Burnley Council is carrying out grass cutting of all the areas we are responsible for, in line with our normal practice over previous years.
“Many of the highways grass verges in the more rural parts of the borough are the responsibility of Lancashire County Council.
“It is not possible for Burnley Council to take over work that the county council has normally done on the areas which they are responsible for.”