This page offers advice if you think that an evergreen high hedge is detracting from the reasonable enjoyment of your property, home or garden. The page gives information on what to do to make a complaint to the Council.
The role of the council will not be to mediate or negotiate but to adjudicate on whether, in the words of the Act, the hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your property.
The Council will take account of all relevant factors and will strike a balance between the competing interests of the complainant and hedge owner, as well as any interests of the wider community.
If the Council considers that the circumstances justify it, it will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner which will set out what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem, and by when. Failure to carry out the works required by us will be an offence, which on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
- The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of 2 metres
- You do not have to get permission to grow a hedge above 2 metres
- When a hedge grows over 2 metres the local authority does not automatically take action
- If you complain to your local authority, it does not follow automatically that they will order your neighbour to reduce the height of their hedge
- The local authority has powers, but not a duty, to require a reduction in height when the hedge affects reasonable enjoyment
- The local authority will weigh up all the issues and consider each case on its merits
- The legislation does not cover single or deciduous trees or shrubs
- The local authority cannot require the hedge to be removed
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light
- There is no provision to serve an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of high hedge complaints.
Before you complain
Satisfy yourself that you have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving your hedge dispute, this should include approaching your neighbour and asking to discuss the issue, if that fails ask the hedge owner to try mediation and finally if that is unsuccessful inform them of your intention to complain to the Council. If these three steps are not completed then the Council are unlikely to proceed with your complaint.
It is advisable to satisfy yourself that your case meets the test that the hedge affects the reasonable enjoyment of your property and to consider whether the hedge owner has a reasonable case to maintain the height. Useful information on how to attempt to resolve disputes can be found in the government’s publication “Over the Garden Hedge”. The publication “High Hedges Complaints – Prevention and Cure” provides advice on how the local authority will determine complaints.
How to complain
If you still wish to proceed and make a formal complaint, you will need to submit a completed form along with the appropriate fee of £320. Download the high hedge complaint form.
Right of Appeal
If you disagree with the Council’s decision on a complaint about a high hedge, or in connection with any remedial notice that has been issued, you may be able to ask the Planning Inspectorate to review the case. There are also some circumstances under which a complainant may appeal if the Council has made a decision otherwise than in his or her favour. Follow this link for more information on High Hedge appeals.