Branchage literally means 'branches'. The branchage refers to the law which ensures that any vegetation growth that overhangs roads and footpaths is cut back. This includes hedges, branches, trees, shrubs, grass and flowers etc.
By having the branchage trimmed, these areas are safer for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and anyone else who uses them.
Brachage on YouTube: how to protect wildlife while cutting your hedgerow
Branchage management guidelines
Branchage management guidelines (Polish translation)
Branchage management guidelines (Portuguese translation)
What the law requires
If you occupy any land bordering public roads and footpaths, the 'branchage law' states that you must have the branchage cut to certain specifications on these areas of your property.
You must make sure:
- there is a clearance of 12 feet over main roads and by-roads
- there is a clearance of 8 feet over footpaths
- that you clear all trimmings from the road / footpath etc afterwards
The most efficient and sustainable way to achieve this is:
- during the first branchage in June, cut only the sides of the banque to a minimum height of 10cms, leaving the vegetation uncut on the top of the banque (as long as it does not overhang the road)
- on the second branchage in September, cut the sides and optionally the top of the banque to a minimum height of 10cms
Branchage must be cut to these specifications year-round so that roads and pavements are as safe as possible. However, twice a year the branchage in every parish is inspected. These inspections are called the Visites du Branchage.
The Visites du Branchage take place during the three weeks commencing 24 June and the three weeks commencing 1 September. Under Article 41 of the Law, at least a week before the visites, the Connétables publish a notice in the Jersey evening post.
The Visites du Branchage
The visites, made up of the parish Connétable, Vingteniers, Centeniers and members of the Roads Committee, check that land occupiers have completed the branchage in accordance with the law.
Roads on the Your Parish Online website
Who needs to complete the branchage
The branchage must be carried out by (or on behalf of) anyone occupying land that borders public roads or footpaths. The landlord or land owner is not responsible if the land is rented. The branchage is the responsibility solely of the occupier.
If the branchage is not completed, you may be fined and / or the parish may arrange for the work to be done and for you to be charged for it. You can be fined at any time of the year.
Helping the environment and getting support
The following guidelines should be followed:
- cut with hand tools when possible
- allow plants to set seed if they're not overhanging
- leave tussocks of vegetation for insects
- never carrying out heavy hedge work during the bird breeding season (1 March to 31 July)
- never cut so much that bare soil is exposed
- never cut rare or endangered plants
- never routinely using chemicals
Groups providing branchage support
These groups, independent of Government, provide advice and support: