What to do if you’re affected by a high hedge

What to do if you’re affected by a high hedge

How to resolve a dispute about high hedges.

If you’re the owner or occupier of a residential property and you’re affected by a high hedge, you must speak to your neighbour about the problem. GOV.UK has advice on speaking to a neighbour about hedge problems.

If this doesn’t work, contact a mediation service to sort out the problem. Find out about mediation services at Mediation UK.

If you still can’t come to an agreement about the hedge, you can complain to us.

We can deal with your complaint if:

  • you've tried all other ways to sort the problem out yourself
  • you can show that you tried to resolve the problem with your neighbour before contacting us
  • there is a record of what you’ve done to try to resolve the problem

You can complain about a hedge if:

  • someone else owns the land it is growing on
  • it’s acting as a barrier to light or access
  • the part that is causing problems is made up of a line of at least two trees or shrubs
  • it’s mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen
  • it’s more than two metres tall

You can’t complain about subsidence, drains being blocked, or other root activity.

Make a complaint

Fill in the high hedge complaint form (pdf, 46k) (opens new window) and email it to us at development.management@bristol.gov.uk or post it to Development Management, City Hall, Bristol City Council, PO Box 3176, Bristol, BS3 9FS.

You must pay a fee of £330 to make a complaint. Send this as a cheque payable to Bristol City Council with your form.

Read the guidance notes for filling out the high hedge complaint form. (pdf, 42k) (opens new window) .

What happens next

We’ll gather information to help us make a decision. This includes writing to people who are involved and visiting the site. We may talk to other neighbours and residents’ associations.

We’ll then make a decision and let you know whether or not work needs to be done to the hedge. There is no time limit for us to do this.

If work is needed

We’ll send a remedial notice to the person responsible for the hedge. This sets out what must be done and a time limit. We give the hedge owner time to find a contractor and arrange for the works to be done.

We can ask for long-term maintenance of the hedge at a lower height. We can’t ask for the hedge to be removed or made shorter than two metres.

The remedial notice applies to the property the hedge is on. This means it will pass on to any future owners.

If we serve the hedge owner with a remedial notice and they don’t carry out the work, they could be prosecuted. We can carry out work needed and recover expenses from the hedge owner.

How to appeal a decision

If you’re not happy with the decision we’ve made, you can make an appeal about a high hedges decision at GOV.UK. You can only appeal if you made the complaint or if you own the land that the hedge is on.

You must appeal within 28 days of us serving the remedial notice. If we didn’t serve a notice, you must appeal within 28 days of the date on the letter telling you about our decision.

We’ll suspend the remedial notice while the Planning Inspectorate makes a decision on the appeal.