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Verge cutting information and maintenance standards in Dorset

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Report a problem with verges, trees and hedges. If you're unsure who is responsible for the land in question, check your area using our interactive map.

Management of Dorset's Highway Verge

Cutting of road verges is divided into two distinct programmes:

  • rural – for roads with speed limits above 30 mph
  • urban areas – for roads with speed limits under 30 mph

Rural areas

The rural cutting programme covers all verges on roads above 30mph. The total length of rural roads being cut in Dorset is 2691km (1,672 miles):

  • A roads – 319 km (198 miles)
  • B roads – 289 km (180 miles)
  • C roads – 1025 km (637 miles)
  • D roads – 1058 km (657 miles)

Cutting is undertaken by contractors – two cuts per year for A and B roads, one cut per year for C and D roads.

The junctions and visibility splays are cut by contractors and also regularly throughout the year on an ‘as needed’ basis by our in-house teams. Where required, we will undertake additional cutting anywhere on the network later in the season, in order to maintain safe passage along the highway. 

Urban areas

The urban areas, defined as those within the 30mph zones, are cut by either our in-house teams or by local agreements with mainly town councils. We currently have agreements in place with the following organisations:

Verge cutting contacts (urban areas)
OrganisationEmailTelephone
Bourton Parish Council parishclerk@bourtondorset.org 07702 709557
Bridport Town Council enquiries@bridport-tc.gov.uk 01308 456722
Dorchester Town Council admin@dorchester-tc.gov.uk 01305 266861
Dorset Council tom.determann@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk 07912 784985
Gillingham Town Council GTC@gillinghamdorset-tc.gov.uk

01747 823588
01305 221215

Shaftesbury Town Council enquiries@shaftesburytowncouncil.co.uk 01747 852420
Sherborne Town Council t.savage@sherborne-tc.gov.uk 01935 812807
Sturminster Newton Town Council admin@sturminsternewton-tc.gov.uk 01258 475136

Under most circumstances the urban cutting cycle is seven cuts per year between March and September. We believe this is a sufficient level to maintain the safety of the network in urban areas.

Cut-and-collect

In some places we are trialling a cut-and-collect approach to verge management. The results have been very encouraging. Collecting the arisings reduces verge fertility, which reduces future growth rates and therefore the need for cutting. Low fertility also benefits wildflowers which only thrive in a low nutrient environment and provide an attractive road side. We hope to expand the cut-and-collect method across Dorset, improving the environment and reducing costs.

Weed control

Control of weeds on highway hard services, e.g. kerb edges, is done with a biodegradable herbicide. This work is carried out once a year during the growing season. This helps reduce weeds and maintain the integrity of Highway infrastructure.

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