asked Her Majesty's Government:By what authority the hedge screening planted on land owned by the Department of Transport on the north side of Witham bypass on the A.12 trunk road has been cut down to expose the advertising hoardings erected on land belonging to the Braintree District Council, for which hoardings the Braintree District Council gave planning consent in June 1995; whether the removal of such screening is in accordance with their policy to protect and enhance the countryside; and, if it is not, whether they will ensure that the screening will now be allowed to grow back to its full height. [HL1626]
The hedge along the A.12 frontage is planted on land outside the highway boundary. It is the responsibility of the owner of the land on which the advertising signs stand, and therefore the concern of that landowner. While there is some evidence of earlier unauthorised trimming of shrubs planted within the highway verge, there is no permanent damage and regrowth is satisfactory. The Highways Agency would not permit interference with landscaping on the trunk road to improve the visibility of advertising signs on adjacent land.