High Hedges

  • High Hedges

The council has the power, under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to deal with complaints about high hedges which affect residential properties.

Our role will not be to mediate or negotiate between you as the complainant and the hedge owner, but to adjudicate on whether the hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your property.  In doing so, we 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 the interests of the wider community.

If we consider the circumstances justify it, we 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 when by.  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.

What is a high hedge?

A high hedge needs, as a result of its height, to be acting as a barrier to light or access to the extent that a person's reasonable enjoyment of their property is being adversely affected.

The hedge must be made up of all or a majority of evergreen or semi-evergreen species.  It must be over 2 metres in height from natural ground level at the point from which the hedge is growing and be formed of a line of two or more trees or shrubs. 

A hedge may affect more than one property thus it is always worthwhile discussing the matter with other affected neighbours who may also wish to approach the hedge owner separately or jointly or be party to a joint complaint.

What should you do before you make a complaint?

The legislation requires you to have attempted to resolve the high hedge issue by negotiation with the hedge owner(s).  This can be by verbal discussion or by letter.  However, it must include two or more attempts to secure a solution.

The following leaflets should assist you in resolving your hedge dispute: -

a) Over the garden hedge (1.0Mb PDF) 

A leaflet on how to settle your hedge differences without involving the local authority. This process must be attempted before a complaint can be made.

b) High hedges - complaining to the Council (400Kb PDF)

A leaflet explaining what complaints the Council can consider and how we will deal with them.

How do I make a complaint about a high hedge?

Complaints must be made in writing and must demonstrate the steps that you have taken to resolve the issue.  You must also set out in detail the ways in which the height of the hedge is interfering with your enjoyment of your property.  The fee for the Council's investigations is £350.00.  The investigation will include collecting written evidence from you and the hedge owner as well as a site visit and a technical assessment.  

Download our complaint form (400Kb PDF) Please contact environmental health for advice before filling out the form.

Appealing the decision

Information about the circumstances in which an appeal against the Council's decision can be made and who can appeal can be found in the following guide: - 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-hedge-how-to-appeal-against-the-councils-decision

Further information

You can find more information about resolving high hedge disputes here: -

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hedge-height-and-light-loss