If a high hedge on someone else's land is affecting the enjoyment of your property, you can apply for an investigation to be carried out.

This could result in action being taken to have the hedge lowered in height.

Definition of a high hedge

A 'high hedge' is defined as a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, which are over two metres in height.

Groups of trees or woodlands do not come within the scope of this legislation, nor do deciduous trees.

Private hedge dispute guidance

Read our preliminary guidance notes before raising a complaint, bearing in mind:

  • the legislation doesn't require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres
  • you don't need our permission to grow a hedge above two metres in height
  • when a hedge grows over two metres, we can't automatically take action unless a complaint is made and upheld
  • if you make a complaint, it doesn't automatically follow that we'll order your neighbour to reduce the height of their hedge - we have to weigh up all the issues involved and consider each case on its merits
  • we can't require a hedge to be removed altogether
  • legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light
  • we're not able to serve Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) in relation to high hedge complaints
  • damage caused by roots is a civil matter not covered by this Act, and for which we're not responsible
  • the legislation applies whether the hedge is owned by an individual or a company

Read government guidelines on to how to deal with disputes over private trees, private hedges and boundaries (GOV.UK).

High hedge investigations

Making a complaint to us about a high hedge should be a last resort.

You'll have to demonstrate that you've made every reasonable effort to settle the dispute yourself.

We suggest you:

  • contact your neighbour within a few weeks of asking us to intervene
  • write a polite letter to the hedge owner a few weeks before you intend to ask us to take action
  • offer your neighbour the chance of mediation

Apply for a high hedge investigation

To apply for a high hedge investigation:

Also see

Planning Enquiries

DM Business Support, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA

Telephone: 01904 551553