High hedges

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.


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.

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 correspondence.

Complaints about high hedges are dealt with by our Planning Services team.

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 form below.

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 below.

The legislation is restricted to certain types of hedges. In order for a complaint to be dealt with by the council the hedge must:

  • 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 trees.
  • 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 access.
  • Adversely affect your enjoyment of your property by virtue of its height. Problems related to hedge roots are specifically excluded.

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

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 below. You can also find more information on the Planning Inspectorate website.


Last Updated on 20 September 2016

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