Hazards created by vegetation

THE Launceston City Council has been swamped with requests to tackle unruly grass, shrubbery and tree foliage that has sprung up across the city.

Months of heavy rain have triggered the high level of overgrown vegetation, sparking community concern about the potential fire and traffic hazards it poses.

Council manager of parks and recreation Andrew Smith said the grass-cutting and tree-clearing programs had been significantly delayed by the city's wettest spring.

``There are many areas that were too wet for us to access and begin work in November and as a result the grass is unusually high,'' Mr Smith said.

``We are focusing on priority areas and continuing to work hard, hoping that summer will eventually arrive, because that is when the grass dries off and we are able to catch up.''

Mr Smith said the council had employed additional contractors to help bring some key sites back into a ``suitable condition''.

The Northern Midlands Council has responded to the widespread problem by enlisting the help of contractors and paying staff overtime to get on top of the extra workload.

A spokesman for the West Tamar Council said its roadside slashing program was about 50 per cent complete. 

The council is prepared to organise a ``follow-up slash'' after the initial program if necessary.

Tasmanian Ratepayers Association president Lionel Morrell said the council could not be expected to manage the problem on its own.

``This is going to be a bad fire season. People need to stop whingeing about the overgrowth and get out there and do something about it instead,'' Mr Morrell said.

``Residents need to be responsible enough to start thinking about cutting their nature strips, which they're not usually required to do.''

Tasmania Fire Service Northern Region acting deputy regional chief John Hazzlewood has encouraged residents to exercise initiative in handling overgrown grass and vegetation.

``Taking care of your own nature strip is a positive step, but jumping the fence to slash grass at your neighbour's house might land you in a bit of hot water,'' he said.

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