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High Hedges

The term 'high hedges' is defined by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003: Part 8.

What are high hedges?

This is a summary of what constitutes a high hedge under the law:

  • The hedge is more than 2m (approx 6½ft) tall (measured from ground level)
  • A hedge is defined as a line of two or more trees or shrubs
  • The hedge is formed wholly or predominantly of evergreens (these don't lose their leaves in winter) or semi-evergreen ones (that retain some live green foliage throughout the year)
  • Beech and hornbeam hedges are excluded.
  • It does not include climbing plants, such as ivy, or bamboo - which is classed as a grass
  • Where a hedge is predominantly evergreen, the deciduous trees and shrubs within the hedge may be included in the work specified. However, specific trees can be excluded or require different work.

Making a complaint to the Council

  • The first step is to approach your neighbours and try and settle the matter amicably. Keep a copy of any letters to demonstrate you have tried. See the leaflet Over the garden hedge for further advice. We cannot deal with your complaint unless the matter has been brought to the attention of the hedge owner
  • If this does not work, you can contact a mediation service to try to resolve the matter. Mediation Bucks provides a free service to residents living in the area.
  • Approaching us should be a last resort.
  • You cannot complain about root activity, for example, causing subsidence or blocking of drains.
  • If the above steps are unsuccessful and the hedge meets the definition of a high hedge,
    a complaint can be made by completing a complaint form.   
  • There is a fee of £490 to make a complaint. For further information see the leaflet Complaining to the Council.
  • We will investigate and consider both sides' cases and make a decision.
  • We will reject the complaint or issue a notice for the work - including the period in which to cut the hedge back and by how much.
  • There is a chance to appeal the decision.