A natural hedge can be an attractive feature in any garden. Hedges can help provide screening for both privacy and security. They can provide a habitat for wildlife and define the boundary between two properties.
However a hedge can also cause problems to a neighbouring property, especially if neglected or allowed to grow unchecked. The commonest concerns are the loss of light to windows and to gardens of neighbouring properties.
You do not need permission to plant a hedge, as the usual planning rules that restrict the height of boundary walls and fences erected around gardens do not apply to hedges. Until 2003 there was no legal restriction on how high a hedge can grow.
Following calls from the general public for help to control the nuisance that overgrown hedges can cause, the government introduced legislation under Part 8 of the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003, to tackle the problems specifically caused by high hedges.
As part of the legislation, answers to frequently asked questions have been published. Please use the 'High hedges questions answered' document in the Documents section on this page. Here you will also find other advice about choosing a garden hedge and how to resolve difficulties.
Local Authority role
The Council does not act as a mediator in hedge disputes. The Council involvement starts only when all reasonable attempts to resolve the issue amicably have been exhausted and when a valid complaint is received. The application form and validation criteria are available from the Documents section. Until a formal complaint has been validated, the Council is guided by legislation to have no involvement with the issue. Tree Officers can provide general advice but do not undertake pre application visits to ensure they remain impartial.