High hedges

The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary and help to bring wildlife in to your garden. The wrong hedge can cause you or your neighbours problems such as subsidence and loss of light.

The following information provides a guide to what you need to do and powers we have to help you if a high hedge is causing you concern.

We only get involved after you have tried to find a solution. Evidence of this will need to be in your application.

The council can be involved if:

  • your attempts to find a solution have failed
  • you are the current owner or occupier of a domestic property
  • the hedge is a semi evergreen or an evergreen hedge
  • the hedge when measured from the ground is more than two metres high
  • the concern about the hedge relates to the height of the hedge.

We cannot get involved if the hedge is causing you concern about subsidence or other matters not related to the height of the hedge.

We cannot:

  • ask for the hedge to be removed altogether
  • insist that the hedge is cut down below two metres
  • give you powers to cut down a neighbour's hedge.

What to do before making a formal complaint

Involving the council should be your last resort and applications will be returned with your fee if you have not gone through the steps outlined above and have not answered yes to all questions asked within the leaflet High Hedges: complaining to the council.

Engage with your neighbour to resolve the issue

The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced guidance called 'Over the garden hedge' which provides useful information. In particular, the section 'How can I engage my neighbour in reducing the height of their hedge?'' may help you to resolve the issue.

Making a formal complaint

Please read the High Hedges application guidance notes first and then complete a High Hedges application form and return it to the Planning Enforcement Team.

Further information is available from the High Hedges: complaining to the council leaflet on the GOV.UK website

Either party has the right to appeal the decision made by the council. Information on the appeal process can be found in High Hedges: appealing against the council's decision.

You will be required to pay a fee of £370.75. There is no procedure to claim the fee back from the hedge owner. Once an application is accepted the fee cannot be refunded.

Please also read the government guidance - 'High hedges - complaining to the council'

Next steps after making a complaint

Once a complaint has been received and considered as to whether it meets the legal tests, we will write to explain the process. The process in brief in set out below:

  • The third party given in your application will be sent a copy of your complaint form and given 28 days to try and reach a solution with you.
  • Failing that, the third party can give us information which should be considered in reaching a view on whether the hedge does affect your reasonable enjoyment of the property.
  • Should information be submitted from the third party then this will be sent to the complainant and a further 28 days given to find a solution to the concerns directly with the third party.
  • Should no solution be found then a council representative will undertake a site visit and following this may seek further information from either party or from a professional such as a landscape or tree officer of the council. Only after this time and due consideration will we be able to decide if the hedge does affect amenity and if so, what measures should be taken to overcome the impact.

Any action will be published in a formal 'remedial notice' giving the measures to be taken and when such works should be done. This may include preventative action to ensure that there is no recurrence of the adverse affect.

A remedial notice can be amended, withdrawn or the council can waive or relax a requirement of the notice. While the remedial notice has effect it will be a local land charge and shall be binding on every person who is for the time being an owner or occupier of the land specified in the notice.

Contact details

Compliance and Enforcement Team

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