Verge maintenance

How to report a grass verge that needs cutting, and protect them from damage.

As Highway Authority, we need to make sure verges remain safe. This is particularly vital at road junctions where clear visibility for motorists and pedestrians is important.

Report an overgrown grass verge

You can report an overgrown grass verge, as well as other street problems, through our online reporting tool Fixmystreet.

In rural areas, a number of grass verges have rare or endangered species of flora/fauna. In these areas, the grass-cutting regime may be relaxed.

Noxious weeds

Ragwort is a poisonous and fast growing weed which is dangerous to horses and other domestic animals. We will attempt to clear ragwort where it is reported. Please use this online form or telephone the Highway Enquiries Team.

Service strips

For information about public highway grass verges (between the road and your private boundary), take a look at our page on service strips.

Dumping on grass verges

Litter, abandoned cars and fly tipping on road verges are generally the responsibility of your local district council:

Protection of grass verges

Town and parish councils frequently express concern about the erosion of verges caused by building work and vehicles. Even after reinstatement or re-seeding, similar problems may continue.

  • In our experience, the most effective method of preventing grass verge damage is to prevent access to it with short, substantial posts.
  • Stones can cause problems and are not generally permitted on the highway.
  • Kerbs can provide good edge support, but they can be driven over by modern vehicles so they may not help in this instance. If kerbing is desired, we will consider town and parish council requests to fund acceptable schemes.
  • Tree planting is also feasible but is not, by itself, always sufficient to prevent parking.

No Mow May campaign

We fully support the aims of No Mow May.

Because of the amount of grass cutting we have to carry out in Oxfordshire, it’s not possible for us put our mowers away for a whole month and still meet our schedule of work.

However, earlier this year we updated our maintenance policy to prioritise biodiversity where possible. This new approach means that all roadside verges in Oxfordshire (rural and urban) will be cut once a year. Wildlife refuges will be cut in rotation every five years.

This approach does not compromise safety, and we will trim areas that impede driver visibility more regularly if necessary.

Our partner councils often follow the same approach in the areas they look after, although some may decide to mow more regularly depending on their own landscaping policy.

We have worked with Oxford University on guidelines to help partners tackle the biodiversity crisis.

Short posts

Where a town or parish council wants permanent protection for a verge:

  • pressure treated or hardwood wooden posts at least 100mm (4 ins) square, set 600mm (2 ft) into the ground, 600mm (2 ft) tall, and set back 450mm (18 ins) from the road, could be used
  • the cost of each approved scheme will need to be paid to us before installation takes place
  • we will not fund future maintenance costs
  • due to possible danger to and from buried apparatus, we would need to arrange the installation.