If you are troubled by a neighbouring hedge, the best way to deal with the issue is to discuss it amicably and to agree a solution with your neighbour. For this reason, the law requires people to have taken all reasonable steps to try to settle their high hedge dispute for themselves before complaining to the Council.
Provided you have tried and exhausted all reasonable avenues for resolving your dispute with your neighbour, and if the hedge is evergreen and is over two metres in height, you can complain to the Council.
The Council’s role is not to mediate or negotiate between you (the complainant) and the hedge owner but to adjudicate on whether, in the words of the legislation, the hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your property.
It does not automatically follow that your neighbour will be ordered to reduce the height of their hedge. All the issues have to be weighed up and each case considered on its own merits so to strike a balance between the competing interests of you and the hedge owner, as well as the interests of the wider community.
- The legislation only covers evergreen hedges - not single trees or deciduous hedges.
- You do not have to get permission to grow a hedge above two metres.
- The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres.
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light.
- The Council cannot require the hedge to be removed.
If, after investigating the complaint, the Council consider that the circumstances justify it a formal notice will be served upon the hedge owner, which will set out what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem and by when. Failure to carry out the works required is an offence which could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
Complaints will not be investigated until the appropriate fee has been received.
There is a fee of £350 to investigate a high hedge complaint. A reduced fee of £50.00 is payable if you (the complainant) can evidence that you are in receipt of either Income Support, Pension Credit, Job Seekers Allowance (income based), Housing Benefit or Local Council Tax Support.
If complaints from neighbouring properties regarding the same hedge are received together then a single £350 fee is payable. However, separate forms will have to be completed by each individual complainant otherwise an appeal by any party against the Council’s decision will not be accepted by the Planning Inspectorate.
Please note that no refunds will be made once any administrative or investigative work has been carried out by the Council.
Other Sources of Help and Advice
Advice on negotiating in respect of high hedges can be found in the leaflet “Over the garden hedge” produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
If your home insurance policy comes with legal cover they may be able to help, or you could contact Citizens Advice at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Some firms of solicitors may offer a set amount of initial free advice, either by email, over the telephone or through personal interview.
In addition, some membership organisations such as the CountryLand and Business Association or SAGA are also able to provide members with advice on legal issues.
High Hedges Complaint Form (PDF Document, 0.27 Mb)
|FOI 3423||1st Oct 2013||High Hedges|
Last updated: Fri 8th May, 2015 @ 15:13