Drains, ditches, hedges and trees


We are responsible for the removal of surface water from the carriageway and footway as quickly as possible under normal weather conditions.

A series of drains (gratings on the surface) are provided which collect the rainwater. These drains are generally located along the edge of roads or in open footway areas.

Blocked drains on private property are the responsibility of the householder/landowner. If you have a problem with waste water and sewage drains your local water authority will need to be contacted.


Common law imposes a duty on the occupier of land adjoining highways to maintain roadside ditches which provide natural drainage for both the land and the highway.

The highways authority has a prescriptive right to drain the highway to adjoining ditches.

In the majority of cases the responsibility for ditch maintenance lies with the adjacent landowner.

The highways authority is responsible for stormwater run-off from the highways by regular maintenance and cleansing of gullies (drains) and grips (drainage channels in verge).


Hedges on rural roads are intended to provide a stock proof barrier for livestock. These hedges normally form the boundary of the highway and are the responsibility of the adjacent landowner.

Where hedges are on highway land, our policy is to trim hedges on an as needs basis.

In situations where the hedge is the responsibility of the landowner or householder we will request that the necessary work is carried out to remove the danger.


We are responsible to ensure that trees that are outside the highway boundary but within falling distance of the carriageway are safe.

To comply with this our highway inspectors carry out scheduled safety inspections that include the identification of dangerous trees.

Our policy is to carry out maintenance work on an as needs basis, on trees that are their responsibility.

In situations where trees form the boundary of the highway or are in adjacent land they are the responsibility of the landowner/householder. If these trees are identified as placing the safety of the highway user in jeopardy, we will request that the necessary work is carried out to remove the danger.

Report it

When contacting us please describe the nature and location of the fault in as much detail as possible. It is useful to leave your contact details should one of our inspectors need to clarify the exact location of a fault.

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Drains, ditches, hedges and trees was last updated on April 12, 2016.