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High Hedges

 

Introduction

 

The Regulations for dealing with complaints about High Hedges came into force on 1 June 2005. Provided that they have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving their hedge dispute, people have been able to take their complaint about a neighbour's evergreen hedge to their local authority, district or borough council.

  

What Happens if I Complain?

 

The role of the local authority is not to mediate or negotiate between the complainant and the hedge owner but to adjudicate on whether in the words of the Act the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property. In doing so, the authority must take account of all relevant factors and must strike a balance between the competing interests of the complainant and hedge owner, as well as the interests of the wider community.

 

If they consider the circumstances justify it, the local authority 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 when by. 

  

Failure to carry out the works required by the authority is an offence which, on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1000.  

 

How Do I Complain?

 

Assuming that you have exhausted all avenues of enquiry trying to negotiate a settlement in respect of the hedge and you have failed to find an agreement, you can submit your formal complaint. Whilst you do not have to use the complaint form, the form does require the information that we need to pursue a complaint. The current cost of a complaint to Melton Borough Council is £350.00. The forms and checklist can be downloaded by clicking on the appropriate link.

 

Scope and Purpose of the Regulations

 

The following points clarify the scope and purpose of the legislation, although you may also wish to see the Frequently Asked Questions using this link. 

  • 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 complain to your local authority, it does not follow automatically that they will order your neighbour to reduce the height of their hedge.  They have to weigh up all the issues and consider each case on its merits.
  • The legislation does not cover single or deciduous trees. 
  • The local authority cannot require the hedge to be removed.   
  • The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light. 
  • There is no provision to serve an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of high hedge complaints.

Further information can be found on the Communities Website, click this link to open that page, High hedges - Communities Website.

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