The complaint process on high hedges

After we receive a complaint, it's our role to decide whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property.

We don't mediate between the complainant and hedge owner. Arch Resolution can offer help to resolve any high hedge or tree dispute whether covered by the legislation or not.

We take into account all the relevant factors and must strike a balance between the interests of the complainant, hedge owner and the community.

What happens next

If we consider the circumstances justify it, we'll issue a remedial notice to the hedge owner. This will set out:

  • what works should be carried out to the problem hedge
  • what action needs to be taken to ensure that it's maintained at a reasonable height in future
  • the penalties if they fail to comply with the notice
  • the notice becomes a charge on the property and legal obligations pass to subsequent owners
  • the notice will have an operative date of at least 28 days after the issue date
  • the notice will mention a compliance period. This will be a reasonable period to allow the work to be carried out. It's recommended that hedge cutting doesn't take place between March and August because nesting birds might be disturbed and this is against wildlife protection laws

If the hedge owner doesn't comply with the notice after the compliance period ends, we can start proceedings.

Failure to carry out the works is an offence which could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The court may also order the hedge owner to carry out the required works.

  • it's also an offence to obstruct a council officer exercising a power and carries a fine of up to £1,000
  • if the hedge owner still fails to comply, without reasonable excuse, a further fine of £50 per day that the work remains uncompleted may be imposed
  • we may make arrangements for the work to be carried out and then recharge the hedge owner for all costs involved
  • these costs would be registered as a local land charge and pass to any prospective buyers of the property

Right of appeal

Both the complainant and the hedge owner have the right of appeal.

  • the hedge owner may appeal within 28 days of being served with a remedial notice
  • the complainant may appeal if we decide not to issue a remedial notice or if we issue and subsequently withdraw a notice

Either party may appeal against a notice on the grounds that it either goes too far or not far enough.