Hedges can give you privacy, attract wildlife, and provide an attractive boundary to your garden.
But a hedge that is too high could cause problems for neighbouring homes, by blocking out light and stopping the occupants from enjoying their garden.
What you can do
If your neighbour's hedge is causing you problems there are things that you can do.
Over the garden hedge is the government's guide to dealing with hedge problems. It contains lots of advice about how to sort the problem out with your neighbour.
You should try to resolve the problem yourself using the advice in 'Over the garden hedge' before contacting us.
Reporting a high hedge problem
If you have followed the 'Over the garden hedge' advice and still have an unresolved problem with your neighbour's hedge, you can make an application for us to consider the appropriate height for that hedge.
There is a £320 fee for this service, but we offer reduced fees for people that are on certain benefits or state retirement pension. Once we have begun our investigation the fee is non-refundable, even if your case is upheld.
You must be able to answer 'yes' to all the following questions about the hedge:
- is it growing on land owned by someone else?
- is the hedge - or the 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 two metres tall?
- even though there might be gaps in the foliage (or between the trees or shrubs), is the hedge still capable of obstructing light or views?
You will also need to show that you have made every effort to resolve the problem with your neighbour.
Contact us on 01246 345811, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss reporting a high hedge problem. We will explain the full process to you before you decide whether or not to make an application.
What we can do
If your case meets the legal tests we will carry out an impartial investigation.
We will talk to you and your neighbour to hear both sides. That will include visiting you to view the hedge and find out how it is affecting your property. We will also contact the owner of the hedge and arrange to view it from their property too.
We take into account the size and position of the hedge, and the type of bushes or trees that it is made up of. We also consider the impact that the hedge has on both properties, including privacy and any overshadowing, and the sizes and aspects of both gardens.
If the hedge is on council land we will treat the case in exactly the same way, and we will talk to the team within the council that is responsible for the hedge.
Notices and prosecution
If we agree that the hedge exceeds the appropriate hedge height and is having a negative impact on your property, we may instruct the owner to reduce its height, and keep it trimmed in the future.
If they don't carry out the work within the time we have set, they could be fined up to £1000.
Find out more about high hedges and complaining to the council.
What we can't do
We can't make your neighbour remove the hedge altogether, and we can't ask them to repay the cost of the application, or any other costs, to you.
We also can't instruct the owner to cut back the depth of the hedge, or deal with any other complaint about overgrown vegetation, as part of a high hedge complaint. This includes complaints about roots from the hedge that might be affecting your property.
See below for some other ways of dealing with untidy gardens, land or vegetation.
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High hedges are regulated under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 and the High Hedges (Appeals) (England) Regulations 2005.