High hedge complaints

The government has produced regulations about high hedges and has issued guidance to help local authorities deal with complaints about them. 

If you need help resolving a hedge dispute, you may be able to submit a complaint to us. 

The facts you need to know:

  • The legislation doesn't require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres
  • You don't have to get permission to grow a hedge above two metres
  • When a hedge grows over two metres the local authority do not automatically take action
  • If you complain to the council it doesn't always follow automatically that we'll order your neighbour to reduce the height of their hedge
  • We do have powers, but not a duty, to require a reduction in height when the hedge affects reasonable enjoyment
  • We will weigh up all issues and consider each case on its merits
  • The legislation does not cover single or deciduous trees or shrubs
  • We can't require the hedge to be removed
  • The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light
  • There is no provision to serve an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of high hedge complaints.

Before you complain

It's really important that before you decide to make a complaint take steps to address the problem yourself.

This should include approaching your neighbour to discuss the issue in the first instance. If that fails, ask the hedge owner to try mediation and finally if that's unsuccessful inform them of your intention to complain to the council. If it's clear to us that these steps haven't been completed fully then we won't be able to proceed with your complaint.

Make a high hedge complaint

Please note any high hedge complaint is subject to a £500 fee made payable in advance of any investigation.

We'll only be able to accept a complaint if the hedge meets the following criteria:

  • the hedge is made up of a line of at least two evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs;
  • does not have any significant gaps in it;
  • is at least two metres in height when measured from the level of roots at ground level; and
  • blocks out light to your home or garden
  • evidence can be provided that steps have been taken to resolve the hedge dispute
  • the set fee for investigation has been paid to us

This information can be provided with our high hedge complaint form [pdf].

Please read the our high hedge Guidance Notes [pdf] before completing the complaint form.