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
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
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
- When a hedge grows over 2 metres the local authority does not
automatically take action, unless a justifiable complaint is
- 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
- The local authority cannot require the hedge to be
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted
- 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.