Dealing with disputes about high hedges

High hedges, trees and vegetation affecting footpaths, alleyways, roads

Problems relating to overgrown vegetation, such as bushes and hedges, growing from private land onto a public footpath or highway, should be reported via the Report overgrown branches or vegetation webpage.

Overgrown vegetation and high hedges located on council owned property (buildings and land)

If you are a council tenant you may be required to trim your own hedgerow or tree.   

If you are concerned about a nearby hedge or tree that you believe is council owned, you should attempt to resolve the matter directly with your neighbour initially. If you are unable to resolve your dispute, you can contact the local Neighbourhood Warden.

Overgrown areas or trees in parks on council owned land

If there is an area of land or a tree or hedge that is overgrown and you believe it is council owned, in a park or a landscaped area, you can raise this issue via the pages in the Parks and Open Spaces section of the website. 

When you can trim vegetation, hedges or trees

  • You can trim branches or roots that cross on to your property from a neighbour’s property or a public road
  • You can only trim up to the property boundary. If you do more than this, your neighbour could take you to court for damaging their property
  • If you live in a conservation area, or the trees or hedge are protected by a tree preservation order, you might need your council’s permission to trim them

Property damage and liability

Your neighbour is responsible for maintaining their hedges so they don’t damage your property or grow too high. If they do damage your property, your neighbour may be liable.

Boundaries and shared (party) walls

Disputes about the exact boundary between two properties can be difficult to solve. On these occasions, we would recommend seeking legal advice.

You must give notice to your neighbour if you are going to do work on a shared (party) wall.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has free advice on boundary disputes and party walls (the walls you share with your neighbours).

High hedge disputes

High hedges that affect the use and enjoyment of the main living rooms within your home, may be investigated by our Healthy Neighbourhoods department if certain criteria are met. The specific criteria that must be met, is available in legislation and guidance information.

All relevant legislation and documents on high hedges (including the legal definition of a high hedge) and guidance on dispute resolution and how to complain to the Council, can be found on the Government website.

You must try to settle a dispute about a high hedge informally before the council can intervene.

We can only investigate your complaint if the following criteria applies to the hedge:

  • It is two or more mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs
  • It is over two metres tall
  • It is affecting your enjoyment of your home or garden because it is too tall

The Council may intervene if these three criteria are met and after all other options (such as speaking directly with your neighbour) have been exhausted. A fee of £375.00 must be paid in advance, before we can consider your complaint.

An information pack providing details of what the Council can and can't do in the circumstances, is available to download below:

If you believe that your complaint meets the minimum criteria and all other avenues to resolve the problem have been exhausted, please report the problem to us.

Report a high hedge

We aim to respond initially to your complaints and requests within 10 working days although, depending on the nature and circumstances of the particular issue, full resolution may take significantly longer.

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