Dealing with disputes about high hedges | Swindon Borough Council
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Dealing with disputes about high hedges

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

Problems with 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 in a park or a landscaped area, and you believe it is council owned, you can raise this issue via the Tree Maintenance webpage.

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 shared (party) walls.

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. The specific criteria that must be met, is available in legislation and guidance information and 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

We may intervene if these three criteria are met and after all other options (such as speaking directly with your neighbour) have been tried. A fee of £375 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, is available to download below:

Report a high hedge

You can report a problem with a high hedge using the form below:

Report a high hedge

We aim to respond within 10 working days. However, depending on the nature and circumstances of the particular issue, this may take longer.

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