Introduction on high hedges

We have powers to deal with complaints about high hedges under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2008.

A “high hedge” is defined as a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs that are over two metres in height.

Individual trees or shrubs, groups of trees or woodlands don't come within the scope of this law.

Quick guide

  • the legislation doesn't require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres
  • you don't need to have permission to grow a hedge above two metres in height
  • when a hedge grows over two metres in height we don't automatically take action, unless a justifiable complaint is made
  • if you complain to us, it doesn't follow automatically that we'll order your neighbour to reduce the hedge height. We have to weigh up all the issues and consider each case on its merits
  • the legislation doesn't cover single or deciduous trees
  • we can't require a hedge to be removed
  • the legislation doesn't guarantee access to uninterrupted light
  • there's no provision to serve an anti-social behaviour order over high hedge complaints
  • damage caused by roots is a civil matter which isn't covered by the act and can't be dealt with by us
  • the legislation applies whether the hedge is owned by an individual or a company
  • mediation should be explored before a complaint is made. This can help resolve any high hedge or tree dispute whether covered by the legislation or not

The following links can provide more information:

High hedges - the complaint process

High hedges - making a complaint

Planning portal - trees and hedges guidance

High hedges - guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government