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Frequently Asked Questions - High Hedges

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Q: What is a high hedge?
A: A high hedge must be formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees, or shrubs and rise to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level. The questions you must ask are: - Does the hedge act to some degree as a barrier or light or access, even though it might have gaps in it? - Are there two or more trees or shrubs in it and are these roughly in line? - Is the hedge comprised wholly or predominantly of evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs? - Is it over 2 metres high? - Would the hedge, because of its height adversely affect the reasonable enjoyment of the home or garden? If the answer to all these questions is YES then it is likely to be a high hedge for the purposes of the Act. The term semi-evergreen is not separately defined in the Act, but normally means that the hedge retains some green or live foliage throughout the year. For example, in some parts of the country, privet will come under this definition, however, the further North you live the more likely your privet hedge will lose its leaves over the winter and therefore no be covered under this definition. Beech hedges are likely to be excluded, as although the may retain some foliage for most of the year, this is brown and dead.
Q: Under what circumstances can a complaint be made?
A: If the owner/occupier of a domestic property is affected by a hedge, which is situated on land owned or occupied by another party and as a result of its height, it is acting as a barrier to light or access to the extent that the reasonable enjoyment of the property is being adversely affected it may be that a complaint can be made.
Q: What if the roots of the hedge are affecting the property?
A: This is a Civil matter and not covered by the Act.
Q: The hedge forms the boundary of a business, can action be taken?
A: Yes, the same reasonable steps should be taken before approaching the Local Authority as is in the case of individual hedge owners.
Q: What height should a hedge be?
A: There is no specified height within the legislation other than, it is not possible to reduce the height of a hedge below 2 metres. That does not mean to say all hedges can only be a maximum of 2 metres as a hedge of 2.5 metres or more may not be adversely affecting the enjoyment of a property. That is a judgement he Local Authority would have to make should a complaint be registered.
Q: What if I feel that the hedge is a dangeras the trees may fall?
A: This is not covered by the legislation, it is a civil matter.
Q: What if my view is blocked?
A: There is no legal right to a view, and this issue alone would not necessarily mean we could take action.

Procedural Document relating to High Hedges

High Hedges Briefing Notes

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