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A woman who staged a naked protest to make her local council cut a hedge has declared victory after Somerset County Council's highways department complied with her demands.
Jill White attracted plenty of attention with her banner that read: "I've trimmed my bush, now Highways trim yours."
She wanted the "dangerously overgrown" hedge, which almost covered a footpath next to the busy A358, brought under control so her daughter could navigate the route in her wheelchair.
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Single mum Jill, 57, said her daughter had been forced to take a taxi to school for the past seven years because of the overgrown path.
Jill tried contacting her council using conventional means for years – a process she describes as “painful” – before resorting to her nude campaign.
"It's the 21st century,” she said. “An old woman shouldn't have to take her clothes off, walk along an A road, naked, with a blasted placard pushing a wheelchair for some kind of action to be taken!"
Since her protest last Thursday, it has been reported that Somerset County Council's highways department will begin to clear the hedges along the footpath this week.
Despite this, the single mum says the fight is "still far from over", claiming this act is "one small victory in a much bigger puzzle".
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Jill added: "Just cutting the hedge was only part of the significantly larger problem.
"It's like we're living in a third world country down here!
"Shocking transport links, too many cars, no jobs, poor healthcare, lack of educational resources – the list goes on.
"Just the day before I did my action, I had to get to my doctor's appointment, and had to travel down the footpath to get there because the bus times weren't practical at all.
"The other more scenic route adds an extra two miles onto the journey, and this pathway is the only way I can get there.
"If you are walking with a pushchair and a toddler it's impossible, in some places the path doesn't even stretch further than two inches – it's hideous.
"I got cut to pieces on my legs – funnily enough one doesn't think to put trimmers in their handbag!"
Jill added: "I know I've chosen to live rurally and I cannot expect services on my doorstep.
"But it's just impossible to get around even for medical appointments – and don't even get me started on mental health."
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Jill says the idea for her protest originated from a casual, 'jokey', remark made by her friend, which she decided to take very literally.
She said: "I said she should not put ideas in my head because she knows damn well I will do it.
"The local ladies from the flower shop gave me some large leaves – so I made sure to cover up my privates as I did not want to get arrested for indecency.
"But my light-hearted protest does point to a very serious issue.
"We are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, gas, climate crisis – we're being told to go greener for the planet but everybody is in their bloody cars!”
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A statement from Somerset county council said: "We’ve had this scheduled for some time as part of the contractor’s programme.
"Last week a councillor informed us it was now narrowing the path so we have asked the work to be brought forward. It will be sorted next week.
"We’re sorry it caused problems, but we always recommend people use the ‘report it’ app which remains the quickest and easiest way to report problems and lets the council review and prioritise urgent work. Accessibility is considered a priority.
"Public transport is always an issue in rural areas and we’re working with operators and the passenger group to improve links but decisions are largely made on a commercial basis and improvements very much depend on accessing a limited pool of government funding."
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