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Author Topic: Rampant vegetation  (Read 2898 times)
TaplowGreen
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« on: July 30, 2021, 04:26:00 pm »

Out for a walk today and headed down the Approach Road in Taplow (where you find Taplow Station, and it runs alongside the line down to the A4)

The vegetation on railway land next to the road is now so overgrown that it's impossible to walk on the pavement in places without doing battle with stinging nettles, brambles, thorns etc and it's necessary to walk in the road.

Does anyone amongst the learned folk on this forum have the contact details of the person responsible for this type of maintenance at Network Rail?
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2021, 05:32:34 pm »

The fact you say pavement suggests that they probably think it is a Local Authority responsibility.

Mind you if you hedge grows and obstructs the pavement the Local Authority can do the job and charge the property owner. Which might concentrate minds.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2021, 06:15:23 pm »

If it's close enough to the station, it might come under the responsibilities of the designated station manager.  I thought their names, mugshots and contact details were on information boards at the stations.
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ellendune
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2021, 09:19:57 am »

The fact you say pavement suggests that they probably think it is a Local Authority responsibility.

Mind you if you hedge grows and obstructs the pavement the Local Authority can do the job and charge the property owner. Which might concentrate minds.

Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980 applies. Local Highway Authority must first serve notice on the owner to get them to remove the obstruction within 14 days.  Only then can they take action in default. 
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2021, 10:52:54 am »

I suspect that it is the 'competent' LA (Local Authority) that bears responsibility for these issues. In and around Exeter foot- and cycleways regularly become overgrown in the late spring / early summer, in some cases being rendered unusable unless full body clothing is worn e.g. until recently the shared foot/cycleways across Matford Marshes and on the northern approach to Dawlish Warren.

In addition the contractors frequently take a strimmer to the first few inches of the vegetation overgrowth and ignore everything above that which isn't a lot of use to those of us who prefer to walk or cycle in a vaguely upright position.

When highlighting these issues via my City or County Councillor I have been told in the past that legislation prevents vegetation clearance until a specified date to avoid disturbing nesting birds. Unfortunately the LA's seem to have been given a fixed date ignoring accelerated vegetation growth produced by favourable weather conditions.
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2021, 01:26:14 pm »

This was in Taplow Parish Council's  Minutes from June last year:
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57.4 Janet Appleton asked who was responsible for the state of the pavement in Approach Road as the brambles in particular were overwhelming the pavement. Cllr. Sandy said that the pavement was the responsibility of Bucks Council (BC) but the overgrowing vegetation was the responsibility of Network Rail. BC had procedures to enforce and he would refer the issue to them if she would provide photographs to him via the Clerk.

Their next meeting is shown as ... September.

I guess it's also possible that the station lease transfers this responsibility to the operator, currently TfL» (Transport for London - about), or that there is a boundary somewhere along the road between them and NR» (Network Rail - home page).
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stuving
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2021, 02:52:08 pm »

There was a follow-up item at TPC's next meeting in July 2020, which confuses the issue a little:
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69.2 Cllr. Sandy noted that a response had been received from Bucks Council (BC) about Approach Road. They would be cutting back vegetation shortly but the issues raised regarding the uneven footway surface were a matter for Transport for Bucks rather than a project within the remit of the new Community Board.

The last meeting was 6th July this year; the minutes are not yet on-line.
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Hal
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2021, 03:42:32 pm »

You could try FixMyStreet.com, which sometimes brings problems to the front of the queue.
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stuving
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2021, 04:14:37 pm »

You could try FixMyStreet.com, which sometimes brings problems to the front of the queue.

Someone reported it there last Sunday (presumably not TG). Do they weigh multiple reports?
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2021, 04:15:54 pm »

My understanding from another Coffeeshop member is that Network Rail have been approached by a local passenger association and a response is awaited.

We know NR» (Network Rail - home page) have form for this given the endless "Leaves on the line" fiascos when trees/vegetation have been allowed to grow out of control without being maintained. They simply don't prioritise it.

Here's a picture of what local people have to put up with - it's easy to see that the weeds/nettles/brambles etc are on railway land and have been allowed to grow uncontrolled through and over the railings.
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BBM
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2021, 09:08:02 pm »

The Reading Chronicle has an article about overgrown verges in Wokingham Borough:

https://www.readingchronicle.co.uk/news/19481240.cutters-finally-swing-action-cut-overgrown-bushes/

It's of relevance here as one of the photos shows Waingels Road alongside the GWML (Great Western Main Line) at Twyford West (see attached photo). In this case it does seem to be the council's responsibility to keep the growth under control.

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Birdie100
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« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2021, 08:18:39 am »

I haven’t any photos but Waingels Road is now clear again. I logged a ticket with the helpful Network Rail community team and within a week they’ve all been cut back. It was particularly annoying trying to push my daughters pushchair along that stretch - both because we had to go into the road and also because the foliage impeded the view of the IETs (Intercity Express Train) zipping past!
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2021, 09:16:17 am »

I haven’t any photos but Waingels Road is now clear again. I logged a ticket with the helpful Network Rail community team and within a week they’ve all been cut back. It was particularly annoying trying to push my daughters pushchair along that stretch - both because we had to go into the road and also because the foliage impeded the view of the IETs (Intercity Express Train) zipping past!

That's encouraging - I have done the same in respect of Approach road in Taplow and included photos, fingers crossed for the same outcome!
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stuving
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« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2021, 11:25:29 am »

The legal duty to cut back plants that encroach on a highway (including its footpath) lies with the owner or occupier of the land, as most of us with front gardens will know. I'm not sure if there's a statute saying that any more, but The Highways Act 1980 gives local authorities the power to enforce that. So the answer to "who should do it" and "where should I complain" don't have to be the same. Plus, of course, others can pass on such complaints. This is the main bit of that law (there must be other bits elsewhere defining such things as visibility splays, clear height to overhanging trees, etc).

Highways Act 1980 (1980 Chapter 66) Section 154:
Quote
154 Cutting or felling etc. trees etc. that overhang or are a danger to roads or footpaths.

(1)Where a hedge, tree or shrub overhangs a highway or any other road or footpath to which the public has access so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of vehicles or pedestrians, or obstructs or interferes with the view of drivers of vehicles or the light from a public lamp, or overhangs a highway so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of horse-riders, a competent authority may, by notice either to the owner of the hedge, tree or shrub or to the occupier of the land on which it is growing, require him within 14 days from the date of service of the notice so to lop or cut it as to remove the cause of the danger, obstruction or interference.

For the purposes of this section the following are competent authorities—

(a)in relation to a highway for which the Minister[F2or a strategic highways company] is the highway authority and which is in a district or London borough, the highway authority and also the council of the district or, as the case may be, borough;

(b)in relation to a highway for which a local highway authority are the highway authority, that authority and also , if the highway is situated in a non-metropolitan district, the council of that district;

(c)in relation to a road or footpath that is not a highway, the local authority in whose area the road or footpath is situated;

and “hedge, tree or shrub” includes vegetation of any description.

(1A)In subsection (1)(a) above, any reference to a district includes a reference to a Welsh county or county borough.

(2)Where it appears to a competent authority for any highway, or for any other road or footpath to which the public has access—

(a)that any hedge, tree or shrub is dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted, and

(b)that by reason of its condition it, or part of it, is likely to cause danger by falling on the highway, road or footpath,

the authority may, by notice either to the owner of the hedge, tree or shrub or to the occupier of the land on which it is situated, require him within 14 days from the date of service of the notice so to cut or fell it as to remove the likelihood of danger.

(3)A person aggrieved by a requirement under subsection (1) or (2) above may appeal to a magistrates’ court.

(4)Subject to any order made on appeal, if a person on whom a notice is served under subsection (1) or (2) above fails to comply with it within the period specified in those subsections, the authority who served the notice may carry out the work required by the notice and recover the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing from the person in default.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2021, 09:43:20 am »

I've had an acknowledgement from NR» (Network Rail - home page) confirming that they will be visiting the area to assess how much work is required to cut back the vegetation and make the area safer.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2021, 09:10:28 am by TaplowGreen » Logged
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