Since 1 June 2005 local council's have had new powers to assist residents who have concerns about the height of a hedge. Before the council can become involved, residents need to provide evidence that they have attempted to resolve a problem with a neighbour. This evidence will need to be detailed in your application for assistance.The right hedge can be an ideal garden boundary and help to bring in new wildlife to your garden, but the wrong hedge can cause you, or your neighbours, unwanted impacts such as loss of light.
Complaints can be made to us about a high hedge where:
- The hedge is affecting reasonable enjoyment of your home because it is too tall, and
- You have made attempts to resolve the situation before making your complaint.
We are able to use our powers under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to act as an adjudicator between the people involved. The legislation to deal with high hedges under this Act was introduced on 31 December 2004.
What type of complaints can we deal with?
The hedge should be:
- grown on land owed by someone else
- made up of a line of two or more trees or shrubs
- mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen
- more than two metres tall
- capable of obstructing light or views (even though there may be gaps in the foliage or between the shrubs or trees)
Who can complain?
The owner or occupier of the property that is affected by the hedge. If you are a tenant or leaseholder, you should let the owner know what you are doing. The property does not have to be wholly residential, but must include some living accommodation. Otherwise we cannot consider the complaint.
What attempts should be made to resolve the situation before complaining?
We can only accept a complaint as a last resort. You must show that you have tried to resolve the problem with the hedge owner. You should have taken the following steps:
- made every effort to resolve the situation yourself
- tried talking to the hedge owner or occupier of the property
- sent a letter to the hedge owner of the property to try to resolve the problem
- informed the neighbour of your intention to complain to us
If these requirements have been met, you can make a complaint.
How do I complain?
You will need to provide us with evidence that you have tried to settle the dispute yourself before we will consider your complaint. This is not a free service and an investigation will cost you £320.
If you wish to make a complaint to us you will need to complete an application form and return it to us with the £320 fee. To discuss your complaint and for an application form call 01495 235209 during office hours.
Our role is to act as an impartial third party to adjudicate on whether the hedge is affecting the reasonable enjoyment of the complainant's property.
For guidance on complaining about high hedges, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) has produced some useful leaflets that are available to download below:
High hedges – complaining to the council (External PDF)
Over the garden hedge (External PDF)
Hedge height and light loss (External PDF)
Our Public Protection team will also be happy to offer any further advice calling 01495 235209 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.