19 May 2023

Give your litter a lift home urges Aberdeenshire Council as seasonal verge grass-cutting begins

Aberdeenshire Council is about to start its annual roadside verge grass cutting programme in the next few days – and is encouraging people to give their litter a lift home.

The council maintains around 3,400 miles of roads and more than 6,200 miles of rural roadside verges across the region.

Cutting regimes comprise one full swathe cut of the entire network including all visibility areas, sight lines and junctions, with a possible second cut at junctions and some identified visibility splays later in the season where necessary.

But council contractors are increasingly seeing vast amounts of litter blighting our roadside verges which is shredded during the cutting process.

Cans, bottles, cups, crisp packets and food wrappers, tubs and boxes flung from the windows of passing vehicles all get tangled up in the grass and undergrowth.

Not only does this litter ruin the view for locals and visitors alike, it’s harmful to wildlife and the wider environmental quality and is difficult, dangerous and expensive to clean up.

Philip McKay, Head of Roads and Infrastructure at Aberdeenshire Council, explains: “With such a large roads network to oversee, we simply do not have the capacity to undertake litter picks ahead of the cutting process.

“We provide bins in all our villages and towns as do takeaways and fast food outlets, so there is absolutely no excuse for throwing your litter out of a car window or as you walk along a footpath. The onus is on you to dispose of your litter appropriately – so why not give it a lift home and pop it in your bin?”

The council’s verge cutting work is carried out by experienced local agricultural contractors using tractors, with roadside warning signs alerting road users when cutting is in progress.

Motorists should take extra care when overtaking and reduce their speed when approaching work areas as contractors may be moving slowly in order to carry out operations safely.

Mr McKay continues: “We would also ask motorists to please be patient and courteous to our contractors and other road users when passing any grass-cutting operations. Please refrain from sounding your horn or flashing your headlights if you are momentarily delayed as contractors are undertaking this vital work on your behalf, helping to maintain visibility on our rural roadside verges.”

The council’s verge cutting regime is intended to balance the quantity of cutting required without compromising road safety. An additional benefit is that this regime will support ongoing commitment to improving biodiversity and the impact of the cutting regime is closely monitored.

Certain sections of road verge containing species of particular conservation value are marked by signs bearing a butterfly logo and no grass cutting will take place within these designated areas.

Verge cutting is generally carried out under a ‘mobile works’ type traffic management system and the council urges all road users to be vigilant of slow-moving machinery during the summer months ahead.