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Middle of the Road - it's mine.

Gardener banned from trimming grass because of health and safety
Graham Alexander, a gardener from Wiltshire, has been banned from trimming the 40ft x 30ft verge outside his home after 43 years - for health and safety reasons.
Now he is only allowed to continue trimming his own lawn and must stop at the boundary line where it meets the council's grass.
A spokesman for the council said: "The Council would not want to see Mr Alexander injured whilst working on land that was not his responsibility.
"The council would also not want to see the risk of injury to a neighbour or passer-by or damage to property that could lead to a costly compensation claim being made against him."

But is it the Council's land? There is a right of way on the land and the Council has a responsibility to maintain it but the underlying land, even if it isn't registered on the Land Registry may well belong to him, and he would still have rights to it.

London and North Western Railway -v- Mayor of Westminster [1902] 1 Ch 269 - 1902

The presumption as to ownership of a lane by adjoining owners, the ad medium filum viae presumption (to the middle of the road), operates in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

I'm not a lawyer but if the Wiltshire Council tells me to stop mowing my verges, which I have to do to be able to see out to drive out, that will be in my strongly worded letter to the jumped up little prodnoses.


The Highway Authority- currently the County Council- owns the surface of the highway and such depth as is necessary for its support (in the absence of other criteria two spits depth was Lord Denning's rule of thumb). Should the highway be stopped up by one of the various legal processes the the land reverts to the riparian owner. To legally carry out work on the highway you need an operative with NRSWA accreditation together with traffic management and ppe in accordance with the relevant codes of practice. It is of course the Highway Authority's duty to maintain the highway, including cutting the grass sufficiently to maintain visibility. And of course anyone working on the highway (or anywhere else) is liable for their own negligence- and is more likely to be judged negligent if they aren't complying with the law (you can rely on the plaintiff's lawyer to make as much of this as possible).
How much fuss it is sensible for the Authority to make about this is another matter- I would say sufficient to avoid being involved for contributory negligence in the case of an accident.

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