The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 were introduced to offer protection to important hedgerows in England and Wales. A hedgerow is described as a row of trees and/or shrubs. However, Cornish hedges do not always meet this definition. Landowners are advised to check with the Planning Service if they are considering removing a hedge.
It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission from the council and if you do so you could be fined up to £5,000.
You may need permission to remove a hedgerow
If a hedge or hedgerow meets the criteria below it is protected and you will need permission to remove it:
Is the hedgerow:
- more than 20m long and connected to other hedgerows?
- running alongside a bridleway, footpath, public right of way or byway
- on or next to
- land used for agriculture or forestry
- common land
- land used for the breeding of horses, ponies, or donkeys
- village greens
- local nature reserves
- sites of special scientific interest
- at least 30 years old and fulfills one or more of the following:
- marks all or part of a parish boundary that existed before 1850
- contains an archaeological feature such as a scheduled monument
- is completely (or partly) in or next to an archaeological site or associated with any monument or feature on that site
- marks the boundary of an estate or manor. Or is visibly related to any building or other feature that is part of the estate or manor that existed before 1600
- is part of a field system or looks to be related to any building or other feature associated with the field system that existed before the Enclosure Acts
- or is part of, or visibly related to, any building or other feature associated with such a system.
- contains protected species of birds, animals or plants listed in the Wildlife and Countryside Act or Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) publications
- includes woody species and associated features as detailed in the regulations
If a hedgerow is not protected you will still need to give notice of the intention to remove it
Apply to remove a hedge or hedgerow
Please complete the application form available on the link below. The planning service will require 42 days notice before any works commence.
Before completing the application it may be useful to read the hedgerow removal guidance notes.
Cornwall Council policy on hedgerow removal notices
Cornwall Council will determine each notice on its merits. But we will seek to protect and retain important hedgerows. Removal will only be allowed in exceptional cases. Each case will be tested against the criteria listed above.
Find out more about the Regulations
The publication: 'The Hedgerows Regulations - Your Questions Answered' can be obtained from the Cornwall Council's Customer Information Centre telephone 0300 1234 202.