The enforcement team can investigate complaints of high hedges only when certain steps have been made by the complainant beforehand. Please read the information below to see if your complaint meets our criteria.
Report a high hedge
You can report high hedges by:
It is not an offence to have a hedge over the height of 2 metres and it is not for the council to prove that it causing a nuisance, our job is to decide (based on various calculations) on whether a hedge is adversely affecting the ‘reasonable enjoyment’ of a property and what, if any action should be taken to remedy the problem and prevent it from happening again.
This legislation is very specific about what a high hedge is, what ‘reasonable enjoyment’ is and what steps that must be taken before a complaint can be made to the council.
In cases where a complaint has been accepted and proved the council can only order that the hedge is reduced to a height that will remedy the problem, this may be higher than 2 meters.
Basic legislation criteria
- The hedge is growing on land owned by someone else
- It is acting to some degree as a barrier to light or views
- The hedge is made up of 2 or more trees or shrubs
- It is mostly evergreen or semi evergreen
- It is more than 2 metres tall
- You are the owner/occupiers of the property affected by the hedge
- The property is residential
If you want to make a complaint
Complainants must be able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to resolve the problem by negotiation before an approach is made to us. Even though a dispute may have been going on for many years, new evidence of a serious attempt at amicable resolution will be required to validate any formal complaint application.
Complainants are advised to either speak to neighbours or write a polite letter advising of concerns.
If agreement cannot be reached, the matter may be subject to independent mediation as recommended by the Government.
Can the Council act as mediator?
No. The Council must act as an independent and impartial third party and they cannot act as mediator.
The National Mediation Help line is an organisation, which aims to provide a simple low cost method of resolving a wide range of disputes.
If you require this service, please see call 0845 6030 809.
Do I have to pay a fee?
Yes, a fee is required when a complaint is submitted.
The fee £210 or £105 if complainant is in receipt of certain benefits.
Will the hedge owner be made aware of the complaint?
Yes. All information must be made available to both parties.
What will happen with my complaint?
Once the Council is satisfied that your complaint meets the legal requirements, they will invite the hedge owner to present their case. When we have all the facts, an Enforcement Officer will visit to see the hedge and surroundings for themselves.
We will need for instance to measure the size of your garden, height of the hedge and how far the hedge is from windows in your house. From the information gathered the council can then make a decision on whether or not the hedge adversely affects the reasonable enjoyment of your property and what if anything, should be done to resolve it.
If we decide action is required, a formal notice will be issued to the hedge owner, setting out what must be done to the hedge and a date it must be done by. This notice can also require that the hedge must be maintained regularly to prevent a further problem occurring.
What if the works are not carried out?
Failure to carry out the works ordered by the council is an offence. If a hedge owner is found guilty by a Magistrates Court a fine of up to £1000 can be imposed.
Further information can be obtained from Gov.uk