RESIDENTS in one of Britain's poshest cities will be fined for not trimming their hedges - in bid to clear pathways to fight coronavirus.

The local council in Bath, Somerset has ordered people to maintain the vegetation on their private property to encourage social distancing.

Anyone caught failing to do so where it is essential for public safety could be issued with a formal notice - leading to a financial penalty.

This means overgrown hedges and trees that make it difficult for pedestrians to get past on kerbs - particularly wheelchair users.

Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES) said it would take care of any vegetation it owns - but residents are responsible for their own land.

Councillor Neil Butters said: "We must all play our part in helping people to safely social distance and make sure there is as much space on the pavement for pedestrians as possible.

"[This] is especially important for people with disabilities.

"We appreciate that before lockdown restrictions eased it was difficult for property owners to dispose of their garden waste.

"But now our Keynsham recycling centre is open and green bin collections are in operation, we are asking people to cut their hedges back where needed.

"If you have a hedge or other vegetation by a pavement please keep it trimmed so that people have enough room to keep their distance, but you should check for nesting birds beforehand."

B&NES added that people should only proceed with cutting their hedges after checking they will not harm nesting birds by doing so.

But trimming within the nesting season is permitted where the hedge obstructs the safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles.

A person could be fined if the formal notice is ignored after two weeks and the council is forced to carry out the work.