Call for Landowners & Householders to Tidy Up

Landowners and householders asked to tidy up near roads ahead of winter

As the weather turns colder, Essex County Council is asking landowners and householders with a garden or land bordering the road to clear ditches and cut back overhanging trees and hedges.

Cllr Ian Grundy, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said:

Flood prevention responsibilities
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Ditches are the responsibility of landowners, even if they are next to the road. Blocked ditches cause flooding which in winter can turn into highly dangerous ice on the road so please do clear them now to avoid putting driver and pedestrians in unnecessary danger.

During Storm Aileen earlier this month, highways crews were contacted about 21 separate incidents where trees blocked roads in Essex.

Cllr Grundy added:

Landowners also have responsibility for any trees near the road. These should be regularly checked and cut to prevent large branches or the whole tree blowing down and blocking the road. People walking along the pavement or verge shouldn’t have to avoid overgrown trees or hedges.

I’m sure everyone will want to act responsibly and take care of their own boundaries, to keep all of us safer this winter.

Enforcement & Guidance

The Council has the power to issue enforcement notices to landowners with blocked ditches which flood the highway or with branches and vegetation found to be obstructing the highway, compelling the owner to carry out any necessary work.

  • Pavements should be entirely free of plant growth up to a height of 8ft (2.5m).
  • The road should be clear:
    • to a height of 17ft (5.1m), and
    • 1.8ft (0.5m) from the edge of the road towards your land.

The Council recommends the use of fully qualified and insured contractors to undertake any necessary work.

You can report highway flooding problems directly to Essex County Council via its website or by calling 0345 6037 631. Visit to report highway flooding online.

To find out more about flooding prevention in Essex please visit or watch their short video below:


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