About High Hedges and the High Hedges Law

USING the HIGH HEDGES LAW Advice on using the High Hedges Law
Preliminaries required for using Hedge Law     + model letter to grower
Hedgeline Guides to the High Hedges Law
APPEALS     - Essential to consult quickly if thinking of appealing
Remedial Notices must be Registered with Councils     - You should check    
HEDGE LAW & COUNCILS High Hedges Law troubleshooting pages. Councils and loopholes.
Huge fees for using High Hedges Law
Councils may not make an order which would kill the hedge
Government PUBLICATIONS The High Hedges Law text & Government supporting documents, including 'BRE Guidelines'
The situation in WALES The situation in Wales is rather different
FAQ etc Frequently asked Questions about this Law, including definitions
N Ireland, Scotland.

Index pages

CURRENT ADVICE on using the High Hedges Law.    

Index at top of this page but please read the below entry first.
(For Wales also see below Situation in Wales from Jan 2005. For Scotland see Scothedge )

  • The High Hedges Legislation is now on the statute books. It received the Royal Assent on 20th November 2003.
  • The law came into force in England on the 1st June, 2005; in Wales on 1st January 2005. The commencement order and the revised appeals regulations are on the HMSO website HMSO website

New to Hedge problems

High evergreen hedges only

Preliminaries to using the High Hedges Law

  • There are new requirements. 1. You will have to have contacted your neighbour within a few weeks of going to the Council. 2. It is likely you will also be expected to have offered Mediation. We suggest that you write a polite letter to the grower a few weeks before you intend to use the High Hedges Law and that you may wish use this opportunity to offer mediation.

      In this letter you should ask the grower to communicute with you about the reduction of his hedge mentioning very briefly what problems the High Hedge is causing for you. You should politely ask the grower to reduce the hedge sufficiently to alleviate these problems, (though not to below 2 metres). You should offer him mediation if your council is saying you need to have offered mediation, but be sure to specify that you expect the grower to share or even fully meet the cost of the mediation. Keep this letter as short and to the point as possible. Try to get it on one side of paper, and we do not mean one side of A4, closely typed.

  • If the hedge growers do not respond in two weeks let them know you are going to the council. You are required to give a warning.
  • Send your letter by recorded delivery or hand deliver with a witness, and keep a copy, because you will have to confirm that you have made every reasonable effort to settle the dispute with your neighbour before the Council will accept a complaint under the new Law. You will need to show that you have taken this step before you use the new law.

    Summary and further explanation of the preliminaries to using the High Hedges Law, including Mediation

    Specimen (model) letter to grower, where required

Using the High Hedges Law

  • Forms and and a clearly set out government advice pamphlet called 'Complaining to the Council' are available from your local council. The advice pamphlet can, at present, also be obtained online. See below - Government Publications (Your initial complaint about a neighbour's hedge MUST be made on the official forms provided by the council.)
  • REMEMBER this law is about loss of enjoyment of your amenity because of someone else's hedge. It is not just about loss of light to your home and garden. When you complete your application forms make sure you outline ALL the forms of nuisance caused to you by the height of the hedge
  • Light and sunlight deprivation to homes and to gardens is only one of the criteria to be considered. The others which administering officer is bound by Law to consider are -
      * safe height for regular trimming and maintenance, where the hedge is in such a position that it needs to be regularly maintained, because, for instance, the overhang is taking up too much of the victim's ground;
      * plant damage where it is clearly caused by hedge height through deprivation of light or rainfall;
      Visual amenity
      * the hedge unduly enclosing the property or unduly intruding on the outlook, (particular views are not protected).
      * the hedge being oppressive and spoiling reasonable enjoyment of a property;
      * the hedge being disproportionate to the garden space it dominates.

  •  Later, if you think the officer has only considered loss of light and is relying entirely on the Government's set of figures, 'the BRE Guidelines' then draw your Council's attention to the fact that the Law is not about loss of light; it is about loss of amenity, and persist. You are entitled to see a copy of the Council's report if you ask for it. If you are a Hedgeline member, get on to your local area organiser and if he or she agrees with you, Hedgeline will do everything it can. The light measurements give ridiculously high hedges in many situations.

    The Law and the Government Guidance notes allow for other aspects of nuisance besides light loss to be considered by the Local Authority. We have given the relevant extracts from the Government Guidance notes which establish that light loss and the 'BRE Guidelines' do not supply final hedge heights. Extracts from Government Guidance notes These are what you need in order to confront local authorities which are using light loss only and for use in your appeal.

  • There are links to our guides to the law itself, further down this page. For more detail on measurements for light loss see Scale of height reductions under the 'High Hedges Law'

Fees - Huge fees for High Hedges Law


    Please be sure to contact Dot on Dot@mpcc.org.uk
    Do this quickly after you get the council's remedial notice as you only have 28 days to appeal and the way you do it is crucial.
    Dot is looking into appeals for us and has the necessary expertise.
    (There will be no charge for the initial appraisal of your case but if we become further involved we may have to ask for reinbursement of our material expenses).

Potential damage to buildings and other constructions.

  • This is not be directly covered in the new legislation. In most cases it will be possible to find another reason to invoke the High Hedges Law and get the cause of the trouble satisfactorily reduced but where hedges are very near property it may not be possible to use the High Hedges Law to get them reduced sufficiently. Please see our note, Potential damage to buildings


Hedgeline Guides

Concise Notes on the Content of the High Hedges Legislation

Easy Guide to the High Hedges Legislation in question and answer form

DCLG (Government) publications

  • Directgov website, This 'user friendly' website explains, and gives links to most of the Government documents which will be useful to people who are considering making a formal complaint to their Council under the 'High Hedges Law'. Directgov

    Individual documents are to be found as follows-


    The DCLG (Government) contact email is hedges@communities.gsi.gov.uk

    Part 8 of Anti-social Behaviour Act (High Hedges Law) Text of the Act


  • A rather different situation in Wales

    The legislation was implemented on 31st December 04. It is now ready to use. The guidance notes for Local Authorities were not complete at the time and draft notes have been used in the meantime.

    The Welsh Assembly has the responsibility of determining some of the details of the 'High Hedges Law', including fees.

    Any concerns about Matters in Wales must be addressed to The Welsh Assembly. (Phil Hope is The MInister in Westminster and he does not have any concern with the final details of how the Law is set up in Wales).

    Official documentation Concerning implementation of the 'High Hedges Law' in Wales - Welsh Statutory Instrument

      Contact Information - Welsh Assembly

      For AMs - National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF99 1NA (Tel. 029 2089 8200).
      If you don't know the name try ringing.

      The Minister responsible is Carwyn Jones who may well reply that the councils will have the freedom to charge less if they wish.

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