High hedges

We have powers to deal with complaints about high hedges once people have exhausted all other avenues for resolving their dispute.

Our role is not to mediate or negotiate, but to make a decision if the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property, including height and light loss.

If appropriate, we will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner, setting out what they must do and by when. Failure to carry out the works could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. Please download a high hedges complaint form.

Cutting the tall stories down to size

  • The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of 2 metres
  • You do not have to get permission to grow a hedge above 2 metres
  • When a hedge grows over 2 metres we do not automatically take action
  • If you complain, a reduction in the hedge is not automatic
  • The legislation does not cover single or deciduous trees
  • The local authority cannot require the hedge is removed
  • The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light

Frequently asked questions on high hedges

Why should the person who is suffering have to pay the Council to intervene?
The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 states that complainants must pay a fee to the local authority when they submit their hedge complaint. There are several reasons why we think this is fair and reasonable:

  • Payment of a fee will encourage people to try to settle these disputes amicably, making sure that involvement of the local authority really is a last resort
  • A fee will also help to deter frivolous or vexatious complaints
  • Can I reclaim the fee from the hedge owner?
    There is no procedure under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 for the complainant to obtain re-payment of the fee, either from the local authority or from the hedge owner

People could take their neighbour to the small claims court, which is used for most claims up to £5,000. However, issuing a claim at court should be a last resort.

Deciduous Trees and Hedges
Why can't I complain to my local authority about deciduous trees and hedges?

Evidence showed evergreen hedges were a widespread problem and there is no comparable evidence that deciduous hedges were a general problem.