Service strips - public highway grass verges | Oxfordshire County Council

Service strips - public highway grass verges

How grass verges on public highways are maintained.

A 'service strip' is an area of public highway grass verge, normally but not always the same width as a pavement, between the road and your private boundary. This may be physically shown by 'highway boundary' marker blocks in the verge, which must not be removed.

Your questions answered

What is a service strip for?

The service strip can be used by the public utility companies (such as gas and water companies) to install and access their equipment. It also acts as a pedestrian refuge and, if necessary, vision splay (allowing a clear view of the road).

Can I lawfully obtain the service strip?

Usually not: as an essential part of the highway network a service strip cannot be deemed surplus to highway requirements.

Can I put up a fence or wall on the service strip?

No. It is unlawful to erect any structure which would encroach upon it. We have a duty to protect public use of the service strip and can take legal steps to formally request removal of such a structure.

Can I plant a hedge or shrubs in the service strip?

Usually not: a hedge or shrubs would also prevent public access and be unlawful. However, it would be reasonable for you to plant bulbs, summer or winter bedding plants as they would be classed as temporary (this does not affect your right to apply for a licence to plant on the highway, if you wish).

Can I replace the grass of the service strip with gravel or paving?

You should not alter the existing surface. We take no responsibility for unauthorised, uninsured work on the highway and if there is an accident or incident you could be held liable for damages or compensation.

How can I stop vehicles parking on the service strip?

It is not designed or intended for parking and we do not support it. But, if it is not causing an obstruction any vehicle may park on the public highway provided it is taxed and legal.

What about grass cutting?

The layout is intended to encourage you to cut the grass over the service strip, which will enhance the appearance of your property. Local authority grass cutting contractors are generally unable to attend to service strips as often as you would like.

What happens if the service strip is damaged?

We are responsible for repair and reinstatement of the highway. Just contact our Highway Enquiries Team to let us know, and we will then arrange for the repairs.

Last reviewed
06 June 2017
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