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Complain about a high hedge
You may be able to complain to us if your neighbour has a high hedge and you can’t resolve the problem between you. There is a cost for this service.
Before you complain
It's really important that you try to address the problem yourself before you complain to us.
- Speak to your neighbour and politely ask if you can discuss the hedge.
- If this doesn’t work, ask your neighbour to try mediation.
- If you still can’t agree, let them know that you plan to complain to us.
If you haven’t done each of these first, we can’t accept your complaint. We’ll ask you for evidence, so keep a record of your attempts to resolve the issue informally.
What we can do
When dealing with complaints about high hedges we have to work to the government’s regulations.
If you complain to us, it doesn’t mean that we can automatically order your neighbour to cut their hedge. We can order the hedge to be cut if it affects your ‘reasonable enjoyment’ but we decide this based on lots of different things, and each case is different.
What we can’t do
There are some things the law doesn’t cover:
- We can’t do anything about single trees or shrubs
- We can’t do anything about trees or shrubs shedding their leaves
- We can't order a hedge to be removed
- The law doesn’t guarantee you access to uninterrupted light
- We can’t issue Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) for high hedges
- We can’t deal with problems caused by hedge or tree roots
- We won’t compare the height of the hedge to other nearby hedges – if your other neighbours keep their hedges trimmed to a certain height, you can’t use this as grounds to complain that another neighbour doesn’t keep theirs the same height.
The ‘two metres’ myth
It’s not true that all hedges have to be below two metres, or that you have to get permission to grow a hedge over two metres. And we can’t automatically do anything if a hedge is over two metres.
Making a complaint
We can only accept complaints about a hedges which are made up of at least two evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, which are in a line with no big gaps in between. It must be at least two metres high and block out light to your home or garden.
You can complain whether you own or rent your home, but make sure you let your landlord know that you’re complaining to us.
Make sure you tell us as much information as possible, but keep it factual. A copy will be sent to your neighbour, and their landlord if they have one.
What you need to tell us
To complain you’ll need to include:
- your name, address and contact details
- your neighbour’s address (where the hedge is growing)
- evidence that you’ve spoken to your neighbour and tried to resolve the problem informally first
- the correct fee
- a full explanation of how the hedge affects you
- a photo of the hedge
- a plan showing where the hedge is and the surrounding properties
- any extra documents or professional reports that you’ve had done
- details of any formal complaints you’ve already made about the hedge
How to draw your plan
Make sure that your plan:
- shows the surrounding roads, and their names
- shows all of the surrounding buildings and properties, with house numbers/names
- clearly marks exactly where the hedge is and how long it is
- shows any measurements in metres
And if you’re complaining that the hedge blocks your light, make sure your plan:
- marks which way is north
- shows the windows which are affected by the hedge
- includes any relevant measurements, for example the size of your garden and how far it is between the hedge and your windows
Send us your form
You can email everything to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also send your documentation to Environmental Protection, Warrington Borough Council, New Town House, Buttermarket Street Warrington, WA1 2NH.
Pay the fee
A high hedge complaint costs £500, you must pay in advance before we can investigate. We can’t refund this fee.
You can pay by cheque to Warrington Borough Council, or by card over the phone: 01925 443322.
Complaining on behalf of someone else
You can have someone complain on your behalf, such as a family member or friend, or you can use a professional adviser. This person will be our main contact, but they’ll still need to tell us your name and contact details - you can’t complain anonymously.