Grass cutting and weed killing

Grass cutting and weed control on road verges is undertaken by Hampshire County Council (HCC) in rural areas, and local councils in urban areas throughout the network to ensure the maintenance of sight lines at bends, junctions and signs, as well as the general appearance of the area


Grass cutting in rural areas

Rural grass and foliage is cut once per year, usually during spring, when HCC cut grass verges adjacent to the road network to maintain visibility at bends, junctions and to traffic signs and in many rural locations to allow pedestrians to step off the road to allow vehicles to pass by safely.

Visibility cuts do not apply at the access to private roads or residences.  If you have safety related concerns regarding highway grass or foliage please use the link below.

Road verges of ecological interest are covered by a separate cutting programme to ensure HCC protect and maintain biodiversity wherever possible.

Every year HCC cut approximately 3,700 km of rural verge through our scheduled programmes which are carried out by Hampshire County Council’s appointed highways contractor.

In light of growing concerns over the environment from residents and local groups in Hampshire over the protection of wildflower and bees, Hampshire County Council consulted Plantlife over the British conservation charity’s new management guidelines for roadside verges.  This has led to a number of changes being made to the timings of the rural grass cutting programme for 2020.  As per Plantlife’s guidance, the cutting season has been adjusted for 2020 to keep the main summer months of July and August clear of cutting (except for junctions and bends where forward visibility will continue to be maintained).

The programme covering the whole of the county is to be carried out within three months which will result in some areas being cut earlier than they ideally need to be and others later, especially with the annual seasonal variations that are being experienced.  However, the early cut is predominantly just the first one metre adjacent to the carriageway which will leave the remaining areas free from cutting. During the summer months, the primary aim switches to cutting for safety purposes only to maintain visibility at junctions and bends.  At the end of the season, from mid-September onwards, the aim changes again with cutting back the full width of the verge to inhibit the growth of trees, brambles and gorse etc, which can otherwise quickly create an overhead canopy stealing light from plants below and reducing biodiversity.

Implementing changes to our programmes such as these require evaluation and the programme will be reviewed with Plantlife at the end of this season. This will allow HCC and Plantlife to understand its effectiveness and identify any further adjustments that may be required to improve further.

Grass cutting in urban areas

Grass cutting in urban areas is carried out by the local city, district, borough council on behalf Hampshire County Council.

If you are concerned about an area of overgrowth in an urban area, please contact the relevant council.

Weed control

Hampshire County Council treat weeds at least once a year using a non-residual ‘glyphosate’ based herbicide.

Usually HCC do this over the summer months along footways and kerbs in towns and villages. Weed spray treatment needs dry weather to be effective. Treatments may be delayed if rain is forecast.

HCC keep a record of known growth sites of injurious and invasive weeds. Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Marestail are treated three times a year. Ragwort and Himalayan Balsam are controlled through a combination of hand pulling and cutting.

Report a ragwort or other injurious weed site

Some city, district, and borough councils manage weed control, excluding injurious weeds, on behalf of Hampshire County Council. They are:

  • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
  • Eastleigh Borough Council
  • New Forest District Council
  • Havant Borough Council
  • Hart District Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
Executive Member decision 19 January 2016

On 19 January 2016 the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment made a decision on service levels and delivery agencies for highways environmental maintenance. The decision took account of the outcome of a public consultation.

Decision record and supporting documents