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'Death trap' warning over grass verges on busy Belfast roads

By Rebecca Black

Published 02/06/2016

Concern: Councillor Jim Rodgers
Concern: Councillor Jim Rodgers

Grass verges on some of Belfast's busiest roads are only being cut once a year - creating a potentially deadly problem, according to councillors.

The City Council pointed the finger of blame at Stormont - and said it would not be taking on the grass-cutting duties of the Assembly.

There was unanimous support at Belfast City Hall last night for a proposal from Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers to send a delegation to meet new Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard over the matter.

The row centres on four sites owned by Transport NI across Belfast - the Michael Ferguson roundabout in Poleglass, Kingsway Embankment, Knock dual carriageway and the top of the Cregagh Road.

The grass used to be cut five times annually, but cuts of another kind mean it only happens once a year now.

Mr Rodgers said grass has grown recently on some of the sites to the point where it is a "death trap".

"People can't see from one side of the road to the other," he told councillors. "We cannot be seen to be paying for something that is the responsibility of the Department of Infrastructure.

"The number of grass cuts carried out has been reduced from five to one. The following year there will probably be no grass cuts at all. It is just going to get worse and worse and worse. We are going to attract more and more people to this city. We have to make sure it looks attractive."

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood said the Department of Infrastructure should increase the number of cuts back to five. He also criticised the quality of the most recent cut carried out by the department, claiming "tufts have been left sticking up".

Sinn Fein councillor Deirdre Hargey voiced her disapproval at the council spending 15 minutes talking about cutting grass, claiming there were "more important cuts to be discussed".

However, she also backed the proposal for a delegation to meet the minister over the matter.

Belfast Telegraph

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