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High hedges

This page offers advice if you think that an evergreen high hedge is harming the enjoyment of your property, home or garden.  It includes information on what to do to make a complaint to the Council.

The Council will judge if the hedge affects the enjoyment of your property by:

  • considering the issues and
  • making a balanced decision based on the facts.

If the Council considers the hedge causes harm, it will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner.  The notice will set out:

  • what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem
  • when they must do it.

Failure to carry out the works required will be an offence. If prosecuted it could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

The facts:

  • The legislation does not require all hedges to be trimmed 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 always take action
  • If you complain to your local authority, it does not mean that your neighbour will have 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 causes harm
  • 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

You should include:

  • approaching your neighbour and asking to discuss the issue
  • if that fails ask the hedge owner to try mediation
  • 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 publications

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 £825.

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 not in their favour.

The Government's website provides further information.

High hedge: how to appeal against the councils decision.

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