Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 gives Local Authorities the power to deal with complaints about evergreen or semi-evergreen high hedges.
Providing that you have tried and exhausted all other avenues for resolving a hedge dispute, you can submit a formal complaint about your neighbour's hedge to the Ribble Valley Borough Council. Please download and read all of the information and advice leaflets before submitting a complaint. Government produced leaflets, a hedge height calculator, and a complaint form are available from High Hedges downloads.
The current fee to submit a complaint is £590.
It is not the role of the Council 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. The Council 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 the hedge is proven to be above the actionable height (as defined by the Act) the Council may take steps to have the hedge reduced. In the first instance the Council may issue a notice to the hedge owner detailing the action to be taken and a deadline for the work to be completed. Failure to carry out the actions required by the Council is an offence that may lead to a fine of up to £1,000. The Court may then issue a further fine of £1000 if the work is not carried out by a specified date, with a further fine of £50 per day thereafter.
- The legislation does not require all hedges to be cut down to a height of two metres
- You do not have to get permission to grow a hedge above two metres
- When a hedge grows over two metres we do not automatically take action, unless a justifiable complaint is made or the hedge has previously been the subject of a height control notice
- The legislation does not cover individual or deciduous trees
- We cannot require the hedge to be removed or enforce work that would result in the death of the hedge
- The legislation does not guarantee access to uninterrupted light and there is no 'right to light' in reference to vegetation or trees