Grass and vegetation

Grass cutting

Cutting the grass of highway verges is undertaken to ensure the safety of road users and takes place during the late Spring and Autumn months.

Essex Highways is only responsible for cutting the grass verges in rural areas, normally twice a year. We also cut the grass on the A13 (Basildon), A130 Canvey, A127, A1245, and A133. If you notice a problem with overgrown vegetation you can Tell us online.

In specific areas, verges may contain protected plants and cutting can only take place at certain times of the year.

District, borough and city councils deliver urban and rural cuts on our behalf except for rural cuts in Epping Forest, Uttlesford, Colchester and Tendring which are delivered by us.

Weed spraying

We spray weeds in some urban areas to limit the damage they cause on the road and footway surfaces, it also improves the appearance and usability of the highway.

We aim to spray the weeds twice in the growing season. The first spray usually starts in late April / early May but this depends on the weather and weed growth. We can only spray when the weeds are growing and in dry weather conditions. The second spray usually takes place in August.

Some local councils may fund additional weed spraying in their areas.

To kill the weeds we use systemic spray that once absorbed by a plant gradually kills it, including its roots. The sprays we use are safe to use on the highway with no lasting action.

Brentwood Borough Council, Epping Forest District Council and Harlow District Council have their own weed spraying programmes which are partially funded by the Highways Authority.

Overgrown vegetation

Along with our grass verge cutting and weed spraying residents can do their bit to help by looking after the area outside your home or property and encourage your neighbours and community to do the same.

Vegetation on (or from) private land

We don't look after trees, hedges and shrubs on private land, including land that is next to roads and pavements. Most trees and hedges by roads are on land owned by private landowners, district councils, city council, parish councils, housing associations and homeowners. It is the landowner's responsibility to look after these areas. They have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent or reduce as far as possible, the risk of injury or damage that could be caused to anyone else. 

Examples are:

  • overhanging branches reducing the width or blocking the view of the road
  • overhanging branches that reduce the height or clearance of the road for tall vehicles such as double deck school buses
  • a damaged or diseased tree that is in danger of falling onto the road or pavement
  • overgrown hedges obscuring road signs or street lights.

Special Roadside Verges 

For information about Special Roadside Verges please visit Place Services.