Grasscutting in Craigavon has been slashed to just one cut per year due to cutbacks in Transport NI.
DUP MLA Stephen Moutray has called for an urgent meeting with the Department of Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy as complaints grow about unkept roadsides.
Mr Moutray challenged the minister to attend an urgent meeting of the DRD committee to discuss cuts in budgets to divisional offices to carry out routine maintenance such as grass cutting and week spraying.
“It is evident whilst travelling throughout the country that there are areas and pockets of land that are being left to grow wild as a result of the directive issued by the Minister that no external contractors are to be used on routine maintenance.
“This has led to a situation where health and safety of pedestrians and motorists is being impacted with the potential for a serious accident.
“The Minister needs to take responsibility for this matter and so order his budget to accommodate the needs of the people who pay their rates and deserve such a service. I know that urban areas traditionally got five cuts per year with rural getting two. This has been slashed with the entire area only getting 1 per year if budgets permit. I believe Minister Kennedy needs to address this matter urgently. Other authorities be it Council and Housing Executive are in a position to continue this work and I believe it is scandalous that Road Service because of this directive are found wanting.”
“With the warmer weather approaching it is vital that action is taken before something serious happens as a result of sight lines and visual restrictions.”
SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden has been complaining about the state of the grass at Derrymacash and Derrytrasna. He said he had contacted council staff who had promised that the grass at Island Grove Derrymacash will be cut and lifted within the next few days or weeks. “They are going to do it initially and then some agreement will have to reached for remainder with either Road service or NIHE.”
DUP Cllr Lockhart said: “It is utterly outrageous that Road Service are no longer cutting the road verges to the standard they have in the past.
“I am totally frustrated that rate payers are being treated in this way and that our Borough is beginning to look like a jungle.
“We see the entrances to developments, roads and roundabouts totally overgrown causing a safety hazard for road users and pedestrians.
“My biggest fear is that someone will be hurt or injured as a result of this budget cut.
“In a day and age were rates are increasing it is not acceptable that such a visible service is reduced.”