Call to divert LED cash for grass cutting

Overgrown junction in Charlestown Road
Overgrown junction in Charlestown Road

Calls have been made to divert funds from LED lighting to cut the jungle of grass swamping the Borough.

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden wants Transport Northern Ireland (TNI) to rethink their current policy of only cutting the grass once in the season unless it has become a danger.

Cllr McAlinden believes it is already becoming a danger and posing serious health and safety problems for motorists.

He said: “It’s now mid June and verges in rural areas of Derrymacash/Derrytrasna haven’t been cut this year.

“This is both unsightly and a health and safety concern,” he said.

“Many motorists have to edge out of junctions putting their lives and indeed on-coming traffic at risk because of poor visibility of verges not being cut.

“Some residents have taken it upon themselves to cut the verges, although good to see people taking pride there are concerns for their safety, TNI should be doing more.

“We hear regularly that they have no money, yet thousands are being spent on installing new LED lights to save money.

“Some of these savings could be used to pay local farmers, who have the machinery to cut the grass verges in their areas.

“I contacted TNI and believe there is one operator cutting grass for the whole Craigavon area which is totally unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

“A long term solution has to be agreed before someone is seriously injured,” he said.

“And if we want to promote our villages and towns as picturesque, tidy and welcoming for visitors let’s get the grass cut.”

Last week a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “All roadside verges and sightline grass will be cut at least once in the period April-October. The Department is again facing a challenging resource budget settlement in 2016/17.

“A reduced routine maintenance service, including grass cutting, is currently being provided in the main by the Department’s internal resources. However, to ensure public safety is not compromised, sightlines will be cut as required.”