Length of road verge and costs of maintenance.

  1. How many miles of road verges do you manage; and how is this split between urban and rural verges?

The length of verge across the Devon road network is defined as either verge or visibility splay. Verge is purely a grass area alongside the highway and within rural areas these are not cut under an annual routine cyclical programme. Some specific rural verges are cut periodically on the grounds of safety but only as an exception where it is deemed necessary to provide a clearly defined access route such as for pedestrians, walkers or equestrians.

In urban locations grassed amenity areas are the responsibility of the City, Borough or District Councils and for efficiency purposes and where appropriate they, as a partnership arrangement with DCC, will undertake the cutting of any highway grass within their own amenity grass cutting programme. Urban roads are generally defined as those within 20, 30 or 40 mph speed-restricted areas.

Visibility splays are areas of grass such as at road junctions, laybys, insides of bends and roundabouts, these are cut on a routine cyclical basis for the purpose of highway safety. An additional cut may occasionally be required within the growing season where rapid growth may compromise the safety of a specific location or locations.

We are unable to split grass areas by Urban and Rural however our inventory data indicates the lengths as follows:

Verge length = 10,579 Miles (77%)

Visibility Splays = 3,160 Miles (23%)


  1. How much money have you budgeted towards the maintenance of road verges in 2021? Again, how is this split between urban and rural verges?

The budget for grass cutting in 2020-21 was set at £1.5 million with expenditure as follows:

2020/21 Rural Grass Cutting Countywide £1.26 million. (90%) Rural grass cutting is mostly visibility splays with some minor verge cutting. On the Rural Priority Network the grass cutting programme is twice or occasionally three times per annum, on other rural roads the programme is once per annum.

2020/21 Urban Grass £ 0.15 million.(10%)  Urban highway grass is cut at a maximum of four times per annum. Any cuts additional to the maximum number are regarded as being for amenity or environmental purposes and are therefore not part of DCC cutting programme or expenditure and purely commissioned by the City, Borough or District Councils.