Grass cutting issues cause for many complaints

Carla Lockhart describes area as a jungle due to lack of grass cutting
Carla Lockhart describes area as a jungle due to lack of grass cutting

Roadside verges and sightline grass will be ‘cut at least once this summer’, the newly formed Department of Infrastructure (DoI) has said.

Despite complaints from across the Lurgan, Portadown and Craigavon area, the DoI blamed a ‘challenging resource budget’ on cuts to the service.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart called on the new Infrastructure Minister to channel money from within his Department to allow external contractors to assist in cutting the grass throughout the Borough.

Mrs Lockhart has tabled a question asking him to reinstate external contractors. “The place is beginning to look like a jungle with real health and safety implications particularly at road junctions.

“I believe the lives of our road users are being put at risk because of the overgrown areas and it also affects the general aesthetics of the area particularly when we have investors considering investing in the area.”

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 the following areas: Old Portadown Rd Junction adjacent to Meadowbrook (grass cutting instruction issued); Tandragee Rd, Lurgan (grass cutting instruction issued); junction adjacent to Ballyoran School, Portadown (grass cutting complete); Lismore Manor (grass cutting instruction issued).

SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden said he had also been lobbying regarding grass cutting, or the lack of it, 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.”