Roadside verges and sightline grass will be ‘cut at least once this summer’, the newly formed Department of Infrastructure has said.
Despite complaints from across the Portadown, Lurgan and Craigavon area, the DoI blamed a ‘challenging resource budget’ on cuts to the service.
UKIP’s David Jones described an admission by the Divisional Manager of NITransport that grass cutting on verges would take place only once a year as ‘unacceptable’.
Cllr Jones said: “I remain concerned that such an unkempt environment could have a negative affect on investors seeking to invest in the greater ABC area. You only have to look at the present state of these grass verges on the main arterial routes, at Seagoe Cemetery and at Craigavon Hospital. It is not good enough and does not give a good first impression. I hope our newly elected MLAs will seek to have this matter rectified as a matter of urgency.”
Sinn Fein MLA Catherine Seeley said she has been lobbying Transport NI to get the mowers out. She revealed it has agreed to prioritise grass cutting in some areas of Lurgan and Craigavon and also the junction adjacent to Ballyoran School, Portadown (grass cutting complete) and Lismore Manor (grass cutting instruction issued).
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said he had also been lobbying on the lack of grass cutting in the rural areas of Derrymacash/Derrytrasna. “They have assured me that the verges will be done hopefully within the next week or two.”
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 throughout the season. The Department will be bidding strongly for additional funding. Any additional funding received will immediately be used to enhance services and deal with any backlogs of work that have built up.”
DUP MLA Carla Lockhart described the borough as a ‘jungle’.