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 2 or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, which are over 2 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 2 metres
- you don't need our permission to grow a hedge above 2 metres in height
- when a hedge grows over 2 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
See our advice about private tree nuisance and disputes, or see guidelines as to how to deal with disputes over private trees, private hedges and boundaries on 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:
- read our application guidance notes before applying
- complete and return our high hedges application form to our Planning Enquiries team