If you have a complaint
If you are the owner or occupier of a residential property affected by a high hedge you can make a complaint to us.
Before we can deal with your complaint, we need to be sure that:
- the hedge is covered by legislation and
- that you have exhausted all other ways to sort out the problem yourself.
You should have spoken to your neighbour about the problem the hedge is causing you. If this has not worked, you can contact a mediation service to try to sort out the matter.
We cannot deal with your complaint unless:
- you can show that you have tried to resolve matters with your neighbour before involving us and;
- that there is a record of what you have done.
Approaching us should be a last resort. Advice on steps you can take to negotiate with your neighbour is in the ‘Over the garden hedge’ document. You can complain about a hedge if:
it is growing on land owned by someone else
it is acting to some degree as a barrier to light or access
the hedge, or the part which is causing problems, is made up of a line of 2 or more trees or shrubs
the hedge is mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen
it is more than 2 metres tall
- even though there might be gaps in the foliage or between the trees or shrubs, the hedge is still capable of obstructing light or views.
You cannot complain about root activity, for example subsidence, blocking of drains.
How do I make a complaint?
Fill in the high hedge complaint form. Use the high hedge notes document to help you fill in the form.
More information is in the High hedges : complaining to the Council document.
What will it cost?
The fee for making a complaint is £474.00. We cannot accept a complaint without the correct fee.
What happens next?
We'll gather all the information needed to help us make a decision, this includes:
- writing to those involved and
- visiting the site.
In most cases, we won't carry out consultation with other neighours and residents' associations.
Once we have all the information, we weigh it up and make a decision. There is no time limit for us to make a decision.
What happens if any action is needed?
We may issue a remedial notice to the person responsible for the hedge. This sets out what must be done and by when.
This can include long-term maintenance of the hedge at a lower height. It cannot involve reducing the height of the hedge below two metres, or its removal. The hedge owner can go further than the remedial notice requires.
The remedial notice becomes a charge on the property which passes to any further owners.
Is there a time limit for carrying out the works?
The time limit for carrying out works will be given in the remedial notice. It will need to give the hedge owner:
- time to find a contractor if necessary and
- arrange for the works to be done.
It is recommended that hedge cutting does not take place between March and August. This is to protect nesting birds.
Is there a right of appeal?
An appeal can be made by:
- the owner of the land on which the hedge is situated and
- the person making the complaint.
An appeal must be made within 28 days of the notice being served. The remedial notice would be suspended whilst the appeal is being decided.
Appeals will be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State.
Read High Hedges : appealing against the Council's decision for more information.
What happens if works are not carried out?
Failure to carry out the works is an offence.
The owner of the hedge could be prosecuted and if found guilty, in a Magistrates Court, could be fined up to £1000.
We can enter land and carry out works needed by a remedial notice. We can recover any expenses from the hedge owner.