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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. Individual trees or shrubs.

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

High hedge investigations

Making a complaint about a high hedge to us should be a last resort. You will have to demonstrate to us that you have made every reasonable effort to settle the dispute yourself, we suggest you:

  • have contacted your neighbour within a few weeks of asking us to intervene
  • write a polite letter to the hedge owner/grower a few weeks before you intend to ask us to use the High Hedges legislation
  • offer your neighbour the chance of mediation

See guidelines as to how to deal with disputes over private trees, private hedges and boundaries on GOV.UK.

See further details of our mediation service for neighbour disputes.


Before you complain you read the preliminary guidance notes and bear in mind the following points:

  • the legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres
  • you do not 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 complain to us, it does not follow automatically that we will 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
  • the legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light
  • there is no provision to serve an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of high hedge complaints
  • damage caused by roots is a civil matter which is not covered by this Act and cannot be dealt with by the council
  • the legislation applies whether the hedge is owned by an individual or a company

Apply for a high hedge investigation

Read the application guidance notes before applying for an investigation.

Complete and return the high hedges application for investigation to the Planning Enquiries team.

Also see

Planning Enquiries

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

Telephone: 01904 551553