From 1st June 2005, Local Authorities, under part 8 of The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003, have the power to deal with complaints with respect to high hedges growing on a neighbours land.
A high hedge, for this purpose, is defined as consisting of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs in excess of two metres in height.
Provided they have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving their hedge dispute, people can take their complaint about a neighbour's hedge to their local authority - your district or borough council.
The role of the local authority, for a fee, is not to mediate or negotiate between the complainant and the hedge owner but to adjudicate on 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.
If they consider the circumstances justify it, the local authority 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 what date. Failure to carry out the works required by the authority is an offence which, on prosecution, could lead to a fine of up to £1,000. (Communities and Local Government)
Please note that the legislation does not relate to either the length or the width of a hedge but only to the height.
For specific advice, with respect to the law, please seek qualified legal opinion. For general advice please contact us.
Communities and Local Government website