Island Roads appeal to landowners to keep roads safe this autumn

Island Roads have issued an appeal to landowners to help keep roads safe by preventing floodwater trees and other debris falling onto the highway over the autumn.

Each year, over the autumn and winter period, Island Roads faces a large number of reports of floodwater, fallen trees or other debris causing disruption or hazards for road users.

Whilst across the UK, on average, at least six people are killed each year by falling trees.

The company is therefore renewing its appeal to landowners to act now, ahead of the winter months, to inspect and clear ditches, watercourses and any unstable trees to help prevent them becoming a hazard for road users.

Flood sign by the side of a flooded road in the south of England

Island Roads say they work all year round using high-pressure jets to clear drainage systems and gullies, repairing defects and putting in new drainage schemes in areas prone to flooding as well as undertaking a programme of tree management and verge cutting on public land to maintain visibility and safety for drivers.

However, on private land homeowners and landowners also have a duty to ensure adequate land and property drainage systems are in place and to stop water, mud, vegetation, trees and other debris from straying onto the highway.

They must also ensure drainage ditches on their land are well maintained and clear of obstruction and take steps to tackle any unsafe trees using good horticultural practice.

Anyone who has land adjacent to a watercourse (e.g. river or stream) also has responsibilities in respect of flooding such as maintaining the bed and banks of the watercourse, clearing obstructions and maintaining flood defences.

Island Roads Network Manager, Kevin Burton said: “Whilst our staff are out and about working whenever and wherever they are required to keep the network as safe as possible, we also need landowners to do their bit to reduce the risk of flooding and fallen trees and the potential disruption and damage these can cause to road users.

“We do have powers under the Highways Act and Land Drainage Act that we can introduce to recharge landowners for work needed to keep the network safe, but wherever possible, we prefer to appeal to those responsible to act themselves to prevent these types of road safety risks occurring. With the bird nesting season having ended, now is the perfect time to start reassessing trees and other vegetation before ground conditions worsen.”

To help landowners, information leaflets produced previously by Island Roads are being recirculated and are also available at their Daish Way reception in Newport and on the Island Roads website