Roads, footpaths, grass verges, roundabouts and lighting: who does what?

It’s a question that’s particularly relevant at the moment, given all the hoo-haa over grass cutting and prior to that, street lighting.

Most people now realise that the county council looks after the light of all public streets and roadways.  There are a few exceptions to this, but these are few and far between and there’s a way to check.


Every post, including those used to support illuminated road signs, have a number sticker on them.   As well as a number, there will be three, or four letters.  Lamp posts that are the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council, have LCC on the sticker, with South Holland’s having SHDC.

The only odd-ball street lights, I am aware of, are a couple on wooden poles at the bottom of Burr Lane, Spalding.

The lighting columns used to illuminate footpaths running through open space areas and residential areas, are almost always the responsibility of South Holland District Council.

So the rule of thumb is, defective light, check the sticker letters, make a note of the number and report it to the council matching the letters.

Unfortunately, our grassed areas don’t come with stickers, but can, in most cases, be attributed reasonably easily.

Again, there are a few odd-ball patches of grass that are the responsibility of a different council than you might expect, but very few.

In general terms, the roadways are maintained by the highway authority which is Lincolnshire County Council.  Roundabouts are all LCC’s responsibility.

When it comes to the grass along public roadways and streets, it helps to look at these in the same way as pavements, or foot pads as locals sometimes call them.  In other words, any strip of land, in this case, the grass verges alongside streets and roadways, are the responsibility of LCC.

In most cases this is 1 metre, or 1.8 metres wide, but can be somewhat deeper, such as the corner plot at Two Planks Lane on Woolram Wygate.  Annoyingly, this area is used as a second hand car lot from time to time by certain selfish residents, but LCC dont appear to have time to challenge them about it.

Trees, shrubs and bushes within these areas also tend to be the responsibility of the highway authority.

So for highways, grassed areas adjacent to the highway, are the responsibility of the highway authority, LCC.

Open space areas, including those with play equipment on, are generally the responsibility of the district council, SHDC.  Again, all trees, shrubs and bushes on these areas, will also be the district council’s responsibility.  However, LCC does have a couple of open spaces around, but very few.

So what’s changed and why has some of the grassed areas been cut and some not?

The simple answer on this, is that LCC has stopped paying SHDC to cut their grass, 7 times a year, on their behalf.  The downside of SHDC getting paid to cut LCC’s grass for them, is that it gives residents the impression that SHDC is also directly responsible for all grass.  LCC will now only cut areas of grass twice a year and only for road safety reasons.


Even this is confusing, because it currently leaves us uncertain if that means that LCC won’t cut the grass at all in residential areas, where they feel there’s no road safety implications.

Spalding councillors are not prepared to accept this situation.  Unfortunately, unlike parish councils, we are currently hamstrung by the lack of straightforward access to the money required.  We are however, working on it.


This is what Lincolnshire County Council say on their website
Grass verges and cutting

The county council maintains most grass verges alongside adopted roads and footpaths.

We don’t cut grass on privately-owned land or on developments which have not yet been adopted.

Saqfety cutting is done twice a year in rural areas, during the summer months, to a width of 1m either side of the road and footpath. At junctions and some bends, verges are cut to the highway boundary to improve visibility.
We no longer cut grass to an amenity standard in built-up areas. These areas and
approaches to major junctions and central islands of roundabouts are now included in the safety cutting twice a year. In some areas, this work will be taken on by the district, parish or town council, who may carry out additional cuts at their own discretion.
You can report overgrown grass and hedges but we will only fix issues where there is a risk to public safety.’

2 thoughts on “Roads, footpaths, grass verges, roundabouts and lighting: who does what?

  1. That is a good breakdown of who does what BUT. I still pay local taxes, council tax etc where does my money go if not on the services you mention?


    • Local taxes are of course council tax. Assuming you live in South Holland, Lincolnshire, your annual council tax bill goes something like this.
      County Council
      Lincolnshire Police
      District Council
      Parish precept – for the area you live in

      I’ve put Lincs Police above SHDC because they actually take more in the annual precept than SHDC does for its average band D property.
      If you live in Spalding there’s no parish/town council so the district collects something called Spalding Special Expenses from Spalding residents. Within the district council element of your council tax nearly 40% goes to our various local drainage boards to protect South Holland from flooding.
      When it comes down to individual councils spending on services, you might be better to look at each council’s website for the breakdown, as the services are many and varied. Weekly refuse and recycling collections in South Holland cost approx £2m a year for instance, just as an example.


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