What is a High Hedge?
“Two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs that grow together so as to form a barrier to light and views beyond.” Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. Therefore one tree or shrub, no matter how wide, cannot be dealt with under the Act. There is no legal limit on hedge height.
The Council’s Role
We will not mediate or negotiate on your behalf, but will adjudicate on whether the hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of your property. In doing so, we will take account of all relevant factors and will strike a balance between the competing interests of you, as the complainant, and the hedge owner, as well as the interests of the wider community.
If we consider the circumstances justify it, we will issue a formal notice to the hedge owner which will set out what they must do to the hedge to remedy the problem, and by what date. Failure to carry out the works required by us will be an offence, which on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.
- The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of 2 metres.
- You do not have to get permission to grow a hedge above 2 metres.
- When a hedge grows over 2 metres the local authority does not automatically take action, unless a justifiable complaint is made.
- If you bring your complaint to us, it does not follow automatically that we will order your neighbour to reduce the height of their hedge. We have to weigh up all the issues and consider each case on its merits.
- The legislation does not cover single or deciduous trees
- A local authority cannot require the hedge to be removed
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light
The following more detailed information, may either be downloaded via the links shown, or ordered as paper copies.
Before you complain
Satisfy yourself that you have exhausted all other avenues for resolving your hedge dispute. The following guidance is available:
- Over the garden hedge
This is a leaflet on how to settle your hedge differences without involving us. This process must be attempted before a complaint can be made to your local authority.
- High hedges - complaining to the Council
A leaflet explaining what complaints we can consider and how we will deal with them.
How to complain
If you still wish to proceed and make a formal complaint, you will need to submit a completed "Complaint form: High Hedges" along with the appropriate fee.
Currently the fees for this service are:
- £350 or
- £175 if on a 'means tested' benefit.
If you believe you qualify for the reduced fee level (for example if you are in receipt of a means-tested benefit) you must also submit a completed "High Hedges - Benefits Declaration Form".
Please post your completed form/s, cheque (made payable to 'Dover District Council') and relevant documents to:
High Hedges Officer
Community Safety Unit
Dover District Council
Dover CT16 3PJ