Grass cutting, verges and weeds

Grass cutting and weed management responsibilities

Please note: as of 1 April, we, Surrey County Council, have taken over the responsibility for grass cutting, weed spraying and treatment of harmful weeds on the highway verges in Surrey. In most areas, this service had previously been carried out by district and borough councils.

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How to report a grass cutting issue in your area

We are responsible for cutting grass across Surrey. To report an issue, please use our online form:

Report grass cutting issue

(Please note: we do not cut grass or resolve issues with grass or weeds on private property.)

Grass cutting and weed spraying management

We, Surrey County Council, are responsible for grass cutting, weed spraying and treatment of harmful weeds across the whole of the county as well as co-ordinating grass cutting on all high speed roads. We ensure our highway verge maintenance contributes to our greener futures objectives and provides a greater ability to support the national Blue Campaign which encourages councils and residents across the UK to find suitable land to let nature take over and enable wildflowers to grow by reducing grassing cutting.

Whilst there will be some compromises, we hope to achieve a balance between promoting and supporting biodiversity with the needs of road users and efficient use of resources

Benefits of less grass cutting

With 41% of insect species in decline and only 3% of wild grassland remaining in the UK, we want to protect nature in Surrey for future generations to enjoy. By managing our Highways verges and our roundabouts differently, we hope to make a significant impact by increasing biodiversity, helping wildlife to thrive and encourage more carbon absorption. We will also actively trial and switch to alternatives to conventional weed spraying as technology develops.

Our maintenance aims

The standard across the whole County will be four urban cuts, two rural cuts and one weed spray treatment per annum.

In general, an urban area is a built up area with a speed limit of 40 mph or less and, for these verges, a ride on a heavy duty rotary mower is used. The grass is cut to a higher standard than rural areas. A rural road is one which tends to have less density of buildings than urban roads and they are often tree or hedge lined. These grass verges are cut by tractor.

We will not maintain shrub beds, flower beds, hedges (other than for sight lines and safety issues), roundabouts that have sponsorship or cut any grass which is part of the Blue Campaign.

Grass cutting programmes

Our grass cutting programme is now available but please note that we cannot give exact dates when we will cut the grass as it depends on weather conditions, how fast the grass grows and operational considerations. Sightlines at junctions will be cut as often as necessary for safety. The main cutting season is from April to September although we may start cutting as early as March with a final cut as late as October.

Grass cutting programme 2023/24

Grass cuttings

We do not collect grass cuttings following mowing but they should be spread evenly over the surface. Any cuttings on the footpaths after mowing will be blown back onto the verge. We acknowledge and understand the advantages of removing grass cutting but raking up, loading, transporting and getting rid of grass cuttings would also increase the cost of the grass cutting substantially. Trials of vehicles that can both cut and collect grass are ongoing and being monitored in other areas, as it is something we could look to do in the future but at this moment in time, we will not be doing this.

Litter picking

Litter picking remains a responsibility of the district and boroughs councils. We will continue to work closely with them to ensure that, wherever possible, litter picking can be carried out before we cut the grass.

Apply to maintain a grass verge

Owners or occupiers of properties next to the highway can apply for a licence to plant and maintain shrubs, plants or grass verges at that location.

Apply to plant or maintain a grass verge

Parking on verges problem

For help with the issue of parking on grass verges, please see our protecting grass verges page.

Weed control responsibilities

We are responsible for weed control across the whole County including the treatment of noxious weeds. Read more about weed control.

To report an issue with weeds, please use our online form Tell us about a weed issue.

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