High hedges guidance
A hedge can be a great boundary between properties as it provides nesting places for birds, gives shelter for small animals and birds moving through gardens and can be an attractive backdrop for other trees and plants. In some cases however, tall evergreen hedges can cause problems for those living nearby.
Neighbour complaint guidance
If your neighbour's hedges are causing concern, we first advise you to talk to your neighbour - they may be unaware that it is causing you a problem. Take some time to think about what problems you are having, write them down if it helps, so that you can approach your neighbour calmly. Sometimes taking a few photos to show them can help them appreciate your concerns. The government website has some useful guidance on how to approach your neighbours about hedges.
Check if you can complain
If you have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving your hedge dispute, you can now take your complaint about a neighbour's evergreen hedge to us. We have powers to deal with complaints about high hedges. The law relates only to hedges that are composed mainly of evergreen trees. Often these are conifer hedges. The government website has some useful guidance on what complaints we can consider and how we might deal with them.
Make a complaint
We cannot visit a property or give any advice (formal or informal) to a potential complainant regarding whether or not there is a case to be heard and/or what the chances of a complaint being successful are. These matters can only be determined following any necessary site visits and surveys, the cost of which is covered by a set fee of £400. This is to make sure we are impartial so that we can act as an independent decision-maker. The fee is non-refundable once the compliant has been submitted.
There is no rule setting a maximum height for conifer hedges across the country. We can only set a height for a hedge if the formal complaint procedure is undertaken. Each hedge is assessed on its own merits and in relation to the properties around it.
As part of the submission, the complainant must prove that you have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving your hedge dispute (such as provide evidence of all written correspondence). If we believe all other avenues have not be tried or insufficient evidence is submitted, the application will be rejected.
If we consider the circumstances justify it, we will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner which will set out what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem, and when by.
If the neighbour doesn't agree with our decision, both the complainant and the hedge owner have the right to appeal against our decision and to be heard by an independent inspector.
Failure to carry out the works required by the final decision is an offence which, on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.