Core highway and street scene services

The core standard for highway and street scene services is provided to all areas of South Gloucestershire.

It includes all the essential services we are legally required to provide such as:

  • keeping the highway network (roads, paths, streetlights, traffic signals and road signs) in a safe, clean and usable condition
  • cutting grass on highways land for visibility and safety
  • looking after trees and hedges that are in the highway boundary
  • maintaining highway structures, drains and street furniture such as bollards, benches and signs
  • keeping areas free of litter, weeds, graffiti, fly posting and fly tipping
  • responding to emergencies to keep everyone safe and the road network moving
  • keeping key highways clear of snow and ice

Grounds maintenance – grass cutting, shrub beds and hedges

We are responsible for the maintenance of highway verges and council-owned parks and open spaces. This involves grass cutting and cutting back hedges and shrubs.

We are changing how we look after these spaces as part of our work to respond to the climate and nature emergency. You can find out more in our Green Infrastructure Strategy.

We also avoid cutting verges and grass in some places as part of initiatives such as No Mow May. This is to help wildlife in our area.

Grass cutting

Most grass cutting is done during the warmer months. Some areas are mowed more than others. This depends on agreements in place with town and parish councils and safety or biodiversity requirements.

Highway verges and open spaces

We have a duty to maintain verges so that highways are accessible and safe for everyone. To do this we undertake safety or “visibility” cuts along with cutting down in a cycle on some rural verges.

We also need to consider biodiversity in our everyday services. Road verges should be managed as important habitats for biodiversity as they provide a vital corridor for wildlife and pollinating insects.

Many of our rural verges are not cut back to maximize support for biodiversity.

Natural land management

A more natural approach to land management is being adopted nationally to support biodiversity and to have more joined up areas for wildlife.

We are using a survey to research which verges and open spaces in South Gloucestershire can be managed to benefit nature.

Better managing our verges and open spaces for nature means that we will let natural grasses grow for longer.

The benefits of this are:

  • areas that are naturally efficient at absorbing and storing carbon
  • increase in biodiversity and encourage the growth of wildflowers
  • providing a home for wildlife such as insects, spiders, snails, small mammals, and birds
  • nature corridors to help connect green spaces, providing pollinator highways so that wildlife can thrive

Wildlife nature reserves

We currently have 12 roadside nature reserves that are home to some rare species. These sites have their own individual management plans.

Hedges and shrubs

Most of the maintenance to hedges and cutting back of shrubs is done during winter. Most rural hedges are not looked after by us, but by private landowners.

Enhanced highway and street scene services

Some areas have enhanced services to meet local needs and priorities.

These include:

  • more frequent grass cutting on highway land
  • having and looking after floral displays and hanging baskets
  • having and looking after dog waste bins

We are not legally obliged to have dog waste bins which is why they are an enhanced service.

These services are typically provided by parish or town councils or by nominated contractors such as our Streetcare teams.

Local (parish) council decide on enhanced services so not all areas will have them.

Unadopted areas

For all enquiries we check to confirm if we are responsible for managing and maintaining that area of land.

When confirmed, we do a land registry check and notify the land owner of the request for work.

If the check shows that the land is unadopted, we are not responsible for its management and maintenance.

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