Councils can consider complaints about high hedges if all reasonable means have been taken to resolve the matter.
Part 8 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, gave Local Authorities powers to deal with complaints about high hedges, and came into force on 1 June 2005. Since then, provided you have tried mediation and exhausted all other possibilities for resolving your hedge dispute, you are able to apply to the Council for us to consider the complaint. Contacting the Council should be seen as a last resort where all other means of negotiation have been unsuccessful
If you wish to complain about a neighbour's high hedge you first need to speak to your neighbour and try and resolve the complaint yourself. If this fails you then must try to resolve the complaint using a mediation service. Only if both these have failed can you lodge a formal complaint.
The Council cannot negoiate with either party or mediate between the parties. Instead, it has to decide whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property. In doing so, the Council will carry out an assessment of the hedge, its height, its position in relation to the complainant's property, orientation, etc, in line with the criteria set out in the legislation.
Before making a high hedge complaint
You must have taken both of the following steps to sort out the problem before you submit a complaint to us.
- Spoken and written to your neighbour about the hedge and how it is affecting the enjoyment of your property. You must have made a minimum of three attempts within the last four months and provide evidence of at least two in writing.
- Spoken to a third party mediation group. These are groups run by trained mediators who will mediate between two parties in dispute.
How to make a complaint
Before you submit a complaint, check the relevant hedge meets the following conditions. It must be:
- made up of a line of at least two evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs
- not have any significant gaps in it
- be at least two metres in height (when measured from the level of roots at ground level)
- block out light to your home or garden.
If the dispute remains unresolved, you can submit a complaint to us
A fee of £530 for handling complaints is payable upon submission of the complaint form.
Please send your completed form to:[email protected]
You can pay the £530 fee here:
If we decide that the hedge is affecting the enjoyment of your property, we may decide to issue a remedial notice. This notice will:
- outline your complaint
- outline our decision and reasons to support your complaint
- list the action that the hedge owner must take and the date it must be completed
- list future action which the hedge owner must take to stop the problem happening again
- outline what will happen if the hedge owner does not take this action within the timescale set
- confirm registration of the remedial notice as a local land charge for the time it is valid.
Both parties, the complainant and the owner of the hedge, can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against our decision.
Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the remedial notice, or the date on which we notify all interested parties of our decision.
- The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to 2 metres above ground level.
- The legislation does not cover single coniferous trees or deciduous trees.
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterupted light.
- The Council cannot order the complete removal of the hedge.
You do not need permission to grow your hedge to over 2 metres in height.
Further information is available on Communities.gov.uk - high hedges