High hedge complaints
We recognise the upset, inconvenience and adverse impact that can come from a high hedge.
There is government legislation about high hedges including guidance on how to assess if a hedge is blocking too much light and settling disputes.
In the first instance you should try and talk to your neighbour about the hedge, and resolve the issue between you. The government's over the garden hedge leaflet can help you do this without needing to involve us.
We will expect you to have:
- had a quiet word with your neighbour about your concerns
- followed this up by sitting down with them so that you can get a better understanding of each other’s concerns and try to figure out the answer
- if this doesn’t work, invite them to talk to independent mediators who can help you find a way forward.
If your neighbour won’t talk to you or you are nervous about speaking to them, send a polite letter. It won’t be enough to say your neighbour is not approachable.
Making a complaint about high hedges
If you can't resolve the issue with your neighbour you can make a complaint to us.
The complaint should be based on problems that you experience in your house and garden because the hedge is too tall and the disadvantages this can cause.
If you are the owner or occupier of a residential property and the hedge is:
- growing on land owned by someone else
- made up of a line of 2 or more trees or shrubs
- mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen
- more than 2 metres tall
- is the hedge of obstructing light or views.
Subsidence isn't connected to the height of the hedge, but stems from the roots taking moisture from the soil. The legislation says we cannot act on matters relating to roots.
How to make a complaint to us
To make a complaint about a high hedge to us you'll need to download the form from the related documents section of this web page and complete it.
Provide full information on the form and think carefully about the grounds of complaint. Explain clearly the problems experienced in your house and garden because of the hedge being too tall, and why these are serious issues.
You should return completed forms to us by:
Send a copy to your neighbours so they are aware of the situation. We will also send them a copy.
How much does it cost?
You'll need to make sure you have paid for the complaint or we cannot process it.
It costs £350 to make a complaint to us about a high hedge. This fee is payable whether or not your complaint is upheld, and we can't help you get it back from your neighbours.
There is a reduction in the fee available if you are in receipt of certain benefits.
What happens after I complain?
When we receive your complaint we'll send to you any necessary forms within 2 working days. Or when we receive your complaint form and the relevant fee we'll check we are satisfied your complaint meets the legal test. We will notify you in writing.
Within 5 working days of notifying you we'll invite the person(s) about whom you are complaining to set out their case. They will have 4 weeks to do this.
Within 3 weeks of receiving all relevant information the site will be visited and assessment made of the problem.
Within 12 weeks of receiving a valid complaint you will be informed of the action we will take or a reason for not taking action.
Where a notice is served you will be informed within 2 working days of the Notice and its requirements.
As well as reducing the height of the hedge, we can order your neighbour to take action to prevent these issues occurring again. This could include keeping the hedge within its new height. The remedial notice will set out any such maintenance requirement.
Failure to carry out the works ordered is an offence. Your neighbour could be prosecuted and, if found guilty in the Magistrates Court, could be fined up to £1,000.
Appealing a decision
If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal to the independent Planning Inspectorate. They must receive your appeal within 28 days of the date of our decision letter.
There is a separate leaflet ‘High hedges: appealing against the Council’s decision’ in the related documents section of this web page that explains how you can appeal and how your appeal will be handled.
You should be aware that your neighbour can also appeal if they are unhappy with our decision. If you think we have not handled your complaint properly, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Complaining about hedges owned by the council
If the hedge is owned by us still send your complaint to us. We will make sure it is dealt with by different people from those who look after the land where the hedge is.
Contact us about high hedges
If you can't download the documents or have a question you can contact us by: