High Hedges
& High Trees

H

edgerows in the countryside, and their conservation, is a quite different subject from the management and regulation of hedges around houses, and, more specifically, between neighbours. For this reason, the Hedgerow Regulations 1997Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet specifically exclude any hedgerow which is within, or borders, a domestic garden.

In England there is now another law which applies to hedges specifically, the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet. There are also various other concerns and factors to take into account.

High Hedges and The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet
see Naturenet's guide and the latest position.

Summary of English high hedges/trees law, and common misconceptions

A high hedge There is no law at all which applies generally to the height of trees, unless they are in a hedge which falls under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 - and even that is not specific.
• There is, and will be, no law which prevents anyone planting Leyland Cypress (or Leylandii) trees, or any other species of tree, anywhere they have a right to do so. The new law does not change this.
• Any branch or root which crosses your boundary can (normally) be cut off by you without your neighbour's consent, but see herePages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet for important cautionary notes.
• There is no such thing as an automatic 'right to light', although rarely there might be such rights attached to a specific property, see here Pages marked with this symbol are exclusively written for Naturenet for more.
• If you think a neighbouring tree/hedge is a danger to you/your property, you might be right, but that means nothing in law. It is very hard to genuinely assess the safety of any tree without professional training, and your opinion will count for little (unless you've got the appropriate qualifications). You need a tree consultant to advise you - not just a local chainsaw operator. Your home insurance provider might also be helpful- some are very proactive in this sphere.

Getting more advice and help

Maybe your hedge or tree problem falls outside the new 'High Hedges' law. Well, there are some other things you can try. If you are concerned with 'problem hedges' - by which we mean hedges, usually in domestic situations, which cause a dispute between neighbours - you should visit Hedgeline, a campaigning group campaigning about such things. There is more information and advice there.

For the latest government advice on this, and some useful downloadable information, see Trees and High Hedges from the Department for Communities and local Government.