High hedges and hedgerows
Well-maintained hedges can make an ideal garden boundary. The wrong type of hedge, or one that is not well-maintained, can cause problems between neighbours.
We have the power to intervene when there is a dispute - however, this should only be a last resort. You would have to show us that you have reasonably done everything you can to resolve the dispute yourselves.
Before you contact us, you should have tried the following:
- Calmly discussing your concerns about the hedge with your neighbour. Keep a diary record of your conversations
- If you cannot talk to your neighbour or do not feel confident enough to do so, write a polite letter and keep a copy along with any reply
- If neither approach works, invite them to talk to independent mediators
- If you have tried the above steps with no success then you can apply to us to intervene, provided you can answer 'yes' to all the following points:
- Is the hedge growing on land owned by someone else?
- Is the hedge (or the portion of it that is causing problems) made up of a line of two or more trees or shrubs?
- Is it mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen?
- Is it more than two metres tall?
- Even though there might be gaps in the foliage or between the trees or shrubs, is the hedge still able to obstruct light or views?
- Are you the owner or occupier of the property affected by the hedge?
- Is the property residential?
- Does the hedge detract from the reasonable enjoyment of your home or garden because it is too tall?
You then need to complete a High Hedges Complaint Form and send it to us with proof of your failed discussions and a fee of £100.
What happens next?
We will check your application to make sure it meets the criteria for a case in which we can intervene. We will ask the owner of the hedge for their views. We will then arrange with both parties to visit both properties to assess the situation.
The site assessment
It is not our job to mediate or negotiate between you and the hedge owner but, as a last resort, we can adjudicate on whether the hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your property. We will take various measurements of the hedge and the gardens and assess the contribution that the hedge makes to each property. We will calculate the effect the hedge has on light reaching the garden and also the house and will give a suitable hedge height for each. Whichever is the lower height is a guide to the height which can be enforced.
If, after investigation, we find that the complaint is justified, we can issue a formal notice to the owner of the hedge informing what action they must take with the hedge and within what time. Failure to comply with such a notice is an offence which could lead to a fine of up to £1000. We also have the power to carry out the required work and recover our costs from the owner of the hedge.