Hedge height and the law
Conservation of hedgerows depends on whether you live in a rural location or domestic house/between neighbours. The law which specifically relates to hedges specifically is the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.
- The law applies to the general height of trees, unless they are within a hedge, but this is not specific.
- It is not against the law to plant a Leyland Cypress (or Leylandii) hedge or any other species of tree in any location.
- Branches which cross boundaries can normally be cut off without your neighbour's consent.
- It maybe that a tree or hedge is dangerous, but this means nothing in law unless you get advice from a qualified tree consultant.
If you have a problem with someone else's hedge, by far the best way to deal with it is to go around to the owners and chat with them to try and sort it out. At the end of the day, if they are your neighbour's rushing off to the council or taking them to court will obviouslky make everything far worse, and at the end of the day, you do have to live next to them. Talk to them, face to face and don't force them to make any decisions straight away.
- Explain properly what the problem is, for example, the hedge deprives you of winter sunshine or the roots are damaging your path for example.
- Explain to them how it affects you, for example, you are using your lights for longer during daylight hours or you will have to pay for repairs to your path for example.
- Tell them what you want to happen, for example tell them how big you want the hedge to be or how often you would prefer it to be pruned.
If after you have spoken to them they still are not prepared to do anything, then speak to your council. They will ask you if you have done the about already. If you have not, then they will tell you to talk to your neighbour first. It might be a good idea to tell your neighbour you are going to talk to the council before you go.
Important further reading:
Hedge height and light loss (Published 8th April 2004)
Review of guidance on hedge height and light loss. (Published 30th March 2004)