High Hedges

The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary but the wrong hedge may bring problems, especially if it is allowed to grow unchecked.  When considering whether a particular hedge can be the subject of a complaint under the Act, people should ask themselves the following:

  • Is the hedge - or portion that is causing problems - made up of a line of two or more trees or shrubs?
  • Is it mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen?
  • Is it more than 2 metres above ground level? (There is no maximum height set for hedges)
  • Even though there are gaps in the foliage or between the trees, is the hedge still capable of obstructing light or views?

If the answer to all of these questions is 'yes', then it is likely to be a high hedge for the purpose of the Act.  There are other factors that need to be taken into consideration and the following leaflets explain why:

If you have fast growing conifers in your garden now is a good time to consider replacing them with a more acceptable alternative.

Growing Leylandii and similar types of evergreen tree in close proximity to one another and trimming back to encourage dense growth, whilst allowing the height to remain unchecked can create real problems. The uncontrolled growth often prevents neighbours from receiving proper access to sunlight which can create severe problems for the proper enjoyment of the neighbour's home or garden.

The new legislation can require the cutting back of offending hedges not only initially but on an annual basis.

Most residents should know if sections of their hedging are causing problems to neighbours. To avoid the unpleasantness which surrounds formal action it is far better for residents to act now.

In order to avoid disputes it is recommended that residents consider fences no more than 2 metres high, or plant with beech or hornbeam hedges.

1. If you are troubled by someone else's hedge, the best way to deal with the issue is to talk to them about it.  It is is both your interests to try and sort things out.

2. If you really are unable to agree a solution with the hedge owner the Council may be able to look at your complaint.  There is a fee for this service.

You will need to complete and return a complaint form as set out below:

Download a Complaint Form

Use the High Hedges Complaint Form to submit a complaint to the Council about a high hedge, under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.  It should be completed by the person making the complaint or their representative.

Guidance notes to help you complete the Complaint Form

NB. The Council can refuse a complaint if they think you haven't done everything you reasonably could to settle your dispute, or if they feel a complaint is frivolous or vexatious.

Local garden centres will be aware of the bad press that is often given to fast growing conifers, and other evergreens such as laurel and privet. If you contact them, when considering replacements, they might be able to suggest more suitable alternatives for replanting.