This notice sets out the responsibilities of landowners in relation to public roads and drainage under the Roads Act 1993.
Important Notice to All Landowners/Occupiers
It should be noted that the public road extends from fence to fence and includes footpaths / grass verges and roadside drains. Certain provisions of the Roads Act 1993 relate primarily to the prevention of damage to public roads and the protection of people who use public roads.
Damage to Roads
Public Roads are maintained by the Council for your benefit and for the benefit of all road users. While most landowners exercise due care when using public roads for agricultural activities, there have been instances where roads have been damaged through careless and unlawful activities.
It is an offence to deface, damage or dig up a public road without applying for, and receiving, prior permission of the County Council in the form of a Road Opening Licence. It is also an offence to allow any material, such as clay, slurry or fodder, onto a public road, where such material is, or could be a hazard to road users or interferes with the safe use or maintenance of the road.
Landowners are obliged to ensure that:-
- The transport of winter fodder over public roads is on the basis that there is no alternative off-road means of access.
- Adequate measures are in place between gateways and storage locations to minimise the amount of clay that is carried onto the public road
- Tyres of tractors, etc. are regularly washed down to ensure that soil is not carried onto the public road.
- Fodder, plastic or twines are not left on grass margins.
- Livestock are kept and fed an adequate distance from the road so that road drainage is not interfered with and slurry is prevented from flowing onto the public road.
- Any soil, fodder etc., which is deposited on the road is removed immediately.
- Vehicles are not parked for long periods on the hard shoulder / grass margins of the public road. Parking in this manner may case damage to the public road and may also limit sight lines for roads users.
Trees and Hedges along public roads (Section 70 of Roads Act, 1993 refers)
The maintenance of roadside trees, hedges and other vegetation is the responsibility of the landowners on whose land they are growing.
Landowners should ensure that trees, hedges or other vegetation are maintained in such a condition that they are not a hazard to road users or that they do not interfere with the maintenance of the public road. In particular, branches, which jut out onto the road, should be cut back. Dead and unsafe trees should be removed and hedges should be cut and trimmed. It is recommended that professional advice on the condition of roadside trees should be obtained from time to time.
When landowners are maintaining hedges or trees all reasonable care should be taken to ensure the safety of road users and the landowner while this work is being carried out.
It is also important to remember that hedges provide shelter for nesting birds and small animals. Hedge cutting should not be undertaken (except in the case of an emergency) during the nesting season, which is between 1st March and 31st August.
Drainage (Section 76 of the Roads Act, 1993 refers)
As a landowner it is your responsibility to maintain drains on your land. This is of utmost importance considering recent episodes of very heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding.
It is also your responsibility to ensure that:-
- Water is not prevented, or obstructed, from draining onto your land from the public road.
- Consequently the drainage system should be adequately maintained.
- Water, soil, slurry or other material does not flow onto a public road from your land.
- Entrances to land are piped with adequately sized pipes or culverts and regularly maintained.
Existing surface water drains shall not be obstructed at field entrances.
Written consent is required from the Council before a landowner deepens or widens an existing drain, or digs a new drain, within 15 metres of the nearest edge of the public road. Otherwise, consent is not required for the normal maintenance of the drain.
Placing of Stones / Obstacles on Grass Margins
It is an offence to place stones / obstacles on the grass margin adjacent to the public road. Householders are advised to obtain the advice of this Council prior to placing any objects on grass margins outside of their properties.
The Council wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of those landowners and occupiers of land who are, and have been, complying with their responsibilities down through the years. If you have any questions or require advice or information on any of these matters, please contact your local Area Engineer’s Office. In cases where landowners fail to comply with their obligations the Council will take whatever action is necessary to ensure compliance. Please note that fines up to €1,269, and/or six months in prison, may be applicable.
Director of Services