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Verge Maintenance Plan

Orkney Islands Council as Roads Authority has a duty to maintain the road verges and ensure as far as possible that they are safe for road users. Well managed road verges also play an important role in enhancing biodiversity in Orkney.

Therefore, the primary objectives of the verge maintenance plan are:

  • To maintain safety.
  • To prevent obstruction of sight lines, road traffic signs, barriers and other structures.
  • To inhibit the growth of injurious weeds (in accordance with the Weeds Act 1959).
  • To prevent encroachment of vegetation onto the carriageway.
  • To manage the roadside verges in a manner that promotes biodiversity by conserving, wherever possible, special wildlife habitats and wild flowers.

In order to meet these objectives roadside verges will be cut twice annually, May/June and September/October. Verges which have wildflowers present, and no inherent road safety concerns, are designated as conservation verges and receive only one cut, in September/October. Additional Cutting may be undertaken throughout the season for reasons of safety, the control of weeds or the management of verges for conservation purposes.

Conservation verges

Conservation verges are highlighted on map below. For more information on what flowers and wildlife are present in our verges, please click the link in the ‘Related Sites’ section below.

Get a copy of the Verge Maintenance Plan

The latest Verge Maintenance Plan is available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Dealing with Ragwort and other prescribed weeds

The control of injurious and noxious weeds is a statutory responsibility under The Noxious Weeds Act 1959. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 also makes it an offence to plant, or otherwise cause to grow any plant in the wild at a place out with its native range. We will continue to work in accordance with these Acts and with adjacent landowners to control and prevent the spread of noxious weeds.

Action will be taken to reduce/remove these weeds, either pulling by hand, spraying or cutting. Advice will be sought on the best course of action for each specific weed type.

Areas requiring treatment will be compiled from various sources, including routine safety inspections and public reports, throughout the year and instructed as part of the annual Verge Maintenance Plan. Community Councils are also asked to provide information on areas requiring treatment. The identified areas are listed in the Verge Maintenance Plan.

Note that the laws on ragwort do not require ragwort to be automatically removed. Under the 1959 Act a landowner or occupier may be ordered to control the spread of ragwort. The subsequent Ragwort Control Act 2003 allows for the creation of a code of practice. Neither Act makes ragwort control compulsory in the absence of an order.

If disposing of ragwort through the Household Waste Recycling Centres, please put it in the general waste skip and not in the garden waste skip

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