The High Hedge Regulations were introduced to help home owners’ combat problems associated with high hedges. High hedges have become more of a problem over the last quarter of a century with the increase in housing densities, and also the introduction and availability of cultivated fast growing tree and shrub species at garden centres.
Hedges have many benefits as a garden boundary. A hedge is a useful weather and dust filter, is inexpensive to create and long-lasting, can encourage wildlife and can be a feature of beauty and interest in its own right. It also offers privacy and security. But problems can occur if a hedge is allowed to grow unchecked.
When there is a hedge dispute between neighbours the best way to settle the dispute is through communication and negotiation. However, if resolution through negotiation is not possible then under this act the complainant will be able to apply to the council for them to investigate the problem.
Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 gives local authorities powers to deal with complaints about high hedges. The legislation came into effect on 1st June 2005.
The associated guide to best practice (High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure – Consultation Draft) sets out the Government’s policy advice on administering complaints about high hedges in England. It outlines the law and suggests ways in which local authorities can run the system in line with good administrative practice. In addition, it offers advice on the steps people can take to avoid more hedge problems in the future and, where they do arise, how they might settle the matter amicably. This document can be can be viewed on the ODPM website.
The ODPM has also produced useful leaflets on high hedges: ‘Over the Garden Hedge’ and ‘High Hedges – Complaining to the Council’.
Wyre Forest House