A good hedge has 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.
Excessive shade cast by overgrown or inappropriate hedges can
ruin a person’s enjoyment of their garden or home. This page
explains some of the things you can do if a neighbour's hedge is
reducing your enjoyment of your property.
Talking to your neighbours
If you are troubled by a neighbour’s hedge the first thing to do
is to talk to them about the problem and try to reach a mutually
agreeable solution. Remember that whether or not there is a hedge
between you, you have to continue to live with your neighbours.
Resolving disputes with them amicably is always preferable.
A leaflet giving tips on negotiating with your neighbours called
Over the Garden Hedge may help you.
How can Sefton Council help?
Sefton Council has powers to intervene in certain disputes over
high hedges. Complaining to the council about your neighbour's
hedge is a last resort and before you go down this route you must
try to resolve the issue with your neighbour amicably. You
will have to show evidence of the efforts that you have made to
reach an amicable solution, so make sure you keep records of
Complaints about high hedges are dealt with by our Planning
How do I make a complaint?
Complaints must be made in writing detailing the steps that you
have taken to resolve the issue and the ways in which the height of
the hedge is interfering with your enjoyment of your property.
Please complete our application
There is a charge of £250 for considering a complaint and
complaints must be accompanied by the correct fee.
More information on making a complaint to the council can be
found in the leaflet High hedges: complaining to the
council, which is available on our leaflets about high
What sort of hedges are covered?
The legislation is restricted to certain types of hedges. In
order for a complaint to be dealt with by the council the hedge
- Be wholly or predominantly
evergreen or semi-evergreen. This means it must retain some live
foliage throughout the year. Beech hedges, for example, are
excluded as although they often retain leaves throughout the
winter, these leaves are dead and brown.
- Consist of a line of two or more
trees or shrubs. The legislation does not apply to single
- Be at least 2m in height. This is
measured from natural ground level at the point at which the hedge
is growing, usually on the hedge owners land.
- Form a barrier to light or
- Adversely affect your enjoyment of
your property by virtue of its height. Problems related to hedge
roots are specifically excluded.
How long does it take to decide a complaint?
There is no set deadline for the council to decide a complaint.
It will take some time for us to get a statement from your
neighbour and to arrange a site visit so you should not expect to
get an answer for at least 12 weeks.
Can I appeal against a decision?
Whether or not you can appeal to the Planning
Inspectorate depends on the nature of the decision made by the
Council, who you are and your reasons (or grounds) for disagreeing
with the decision in question. You can find out more about
appealing from the leaflet High hedges: appealing against the
Council’s decision available on our leaflets about high
hedges page. You can also find more information on the
Planning Inspectorate website.
The following leaflets explain some of the
issues involved in dealing with high hedges.
Over the Garden Hedge - A guide to negotiating with your
neighbours to settle a hedge dispute before it gets to the point of
complaining to the council
Hedge height and light loss - This guidance will form the basis
of the council's assessment of whether a hedge needs reducing and
if so, to what height.
Last Updated on 7/3/2013