If left untended, trees and hedges, in particular Leylandii, can easily get out of control. We are able to deal with complaints about high hedges under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
Which hedges count?
- The hedge must compromise wholly, or predominantly of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs in a line. We cannot deal with complaints about single trees or deciduous (non-evergreen) or issues surrounding the roots from trees;
- The hedge/trees must be over two metres in height from ground level;
- The hedge acts in some way as a barrier to light to the main habitable rooms of a property or access;
- Because of its height, the hedge adversely affects the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their domestic property.
Ideally, the dispute would be resolved amicably between neighbours, without timely and costly intervention by us. For more advice on settling disputes, please visit the Gov.uk website. However, if the parties are unable to resolve the dispute between themselves, an official complaint can be made to us.
Make a complaint
Before you fill out the complaint form, please read the letter and guidance notes:
Covering letter, complaint form and guidance notes (PDF 411KB)
How do we deal with the complaint?
After a complaint is made to us in writing, stating the reasons as to why a hedge is thought to be too high, we will then assess whether it is a case we can deal with. If so, then a copy of the complaint will be sent to the person responsible for the hedge, asking for their comments on the case. All parties are given copies of all correspondence so that the process remains transparent throughout.
Once all comments have been received, we will normally send an officer to check the hedge, to measure its height and gather other information. We alone make the decision as to whether the hedge is causing an adverse affect to the complainant, and will decide what action should be taken to overcome the problem. Alternatively, we may decide that no action is necessary.
What action can we take?
If action is to be taken, we will issue a 'remedial notice'. This is a formal notice to the person responsible for the hedge and may require the hedge to be reduced in height. Remedies may include long-term maintenance of the hedge at a lower height.
What will it cost?
We charge £500 to process a high hedge complaint.
A fee is payable because:
- it encourages people to try to settle disputes amicably
- it helps to ensure that complaints are genuine
- in a public consultation about high hedges, most people thought it was fair that the person making the complaint should pay something for the council to intervene in their hedge dispute.
Both the hedge owner and the complainant can appeal against our decision. They have 28 days in which to do so. The notice will usually be suspended whilst the appeal is in process.
It is an offence not to comply with a remedial notice. If your neighbour fails to reduce their hedge height in the time specified, they could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000. Alternatively, we have the authority to take direct action and recover the cost from the hedge owner.
For further information, or to find out current fees, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01442 228455.