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High Hedges

The term 'high hedge' means a barrier to light and access, which is formed wholly or predominately by a line of two or more evergreens or semi-evergreens, and rises to a height of more than two meters above ground level.

If you are the owner or occupier of a residential property and a neighbour's high hedge is detracting from the reasonable enjoyment of your home or garden, you may have grounds for making a complaint to us, but first you must take all reasonable steps to settle your hedge differences with your neighbour without involving us.

Where a garden is allegedly adversely affected by the height of a hedge it must be a substantial part of that garden and not merely a particular feature in the garden that is affected.

Complaints and remedial action

Before we can accept a complaint, neighbours must try and settle a dispute without our input. Involving us should be a last resort if you really can’t agree a solution. To guide you, the Government has published leaflets about settling hedge differences and explaining what happens if the Council gets involved:

Please note that the leaflets were originally published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and that all references in the text to ODPM now refer to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

If we consider that a complainant has not taken all reasonable steps to resolve a dispute or that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious we can decide not to proceed with the complaint. Evidence must be produced to show the efforts made to settle a dispute (copies of letters sent, for example), and a complaint cannot be made anonymously.

Where a complaint appears to meet the criteria, a complaint form must be completed and the £350 fee paid. We will then investigate the complaint and decide whether a high hedge is adversely affecting the property and if so, what action, if any should be taken. Both the complainant and the owners/occupiers of the property with the hedge will be notified of the decision.

Where appropriate a remedial notice can be served on every owner and occupier of the land with a copy to the complainant. This notice details the steps required to be taken to alleviate the complaint and any preventative action to prevent a recurrence, and a reasonable time period for compliance with the requirement. We cannot order that the hedge be removed entirely, nor can we require it to be cut down below 2 meters.

Failure to comply with the terms of a remedial notice is punishable in a Magistrates' Court.

Appeals

A person served with a remedial notice may lodge an appeal if they feel the requirements are unnecessary or unjustified. A complainant may also appeal if we decide not to take action or they feel our requirements are insufficient.

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