All persons, including co-ownership associations (for flying freehold properties) and companies (for share transfer properties) who occupy houses, lands, and other properties, alongside the public roads have a duty to cut the branchage so that there is no impediment to those using the roads and footpaths.
A Visite du Branchage takes place in each Parish twice a year to check that the branchage has been cut and all trimmings have been removed. On the Visite du Branchage the Connétable, members of the Roads Committee, the Centeniers and Vingteniers will visit the roads of the parish to ensure that the branchage has been completed.
The Visite du Branchage applies to all public roads including main roads, by-roads and footpaths.
Advance notice is given of the dates of the Visites du Branchage
and persons must:
- cut the overhanging branches growing from their properties along those public roads in such a way that there is a height of 12 feet free beneath the branches over the entire width of those roads (including their "reliefs") and a height of 8 feet free over the footpaths; and
- remove the branches that have been cut off as well as brambles, weeds and all other obstructions and deleterious matter that encroach on the public road or footpath.
Persons who fail to comply with these requirements are liable to an administrative penalty not exceeding £100 for each infringement. If the branchage has not been completed the person will be required to undertake the work and, if it is not carried out, the Parish may arrange for the work to be done and charge the person the cost of that work.
A person who disputes the decision may elect not to pay the administrative penalty. If the person does not pay, the Connétable may seek to recover the penalty as an ordinary civil debt, in which case the Petty Debts Court will determine whether or not the penalty has to be paid.
If a person does not remove the branchage in accordance with the requirements of an order he or she is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty of level 2 on the standard scale (up to £500). However if the person charged accepts the decision of the relevant Centenier, the matter may be dealt with by the Centenier who may impose a fine of up to £200.
In any case, if the branchage is not removed, the Connétable may undertake the necessary work in order to remove the branches, obstacle or other deleterious matter and may recover the costs incurred as a civil debt.