The Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 gives local authorities powers to deal with complaints about high hedges.
To be dealt with under the act the hedge must be:
A line of two or more of evergreen or semi evergreen trees or shrubs, that is higher than two metres.
If you are involved in a dispute about a hedge, you must try to resolve the problem before the complaint is taken to the city council. You will need to prove to the council that you have taken the following steps to resolve the issue yourself:
- Written to your neighbour aiming to resolve the issue and follow this up with a second letter if no response is received.
- Proven that you have arranged for some sort of mediation exercise to be carried out that may help you come to a compromise. This does not have to be via a formal mediation service.
- Informed neighbour/hedge owner via letter of your intention to complain to council.
The role of the local authority is not to mediate or negotiate between the complainant and the hedge owner but to decide 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 and environment.
If after investigation it is felt that works are required to the hedge the council 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 by when. Failure to comply with the notice is an offence that, on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The council also has the powers to carry out works in default and charge the owner all reasonable costs incurred.
The council currently charges £212 to the complainant for investigating high hedge cases.
If you feel your complaint meets the above criteria, then contact us using this form.