to make provision for dealing with complaints about high hedges; and for
Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Complaints to which this Act applies
(1) This Act applies to a complaint which—
(a) is made for the purposes of this Act by an owner or occupier of a
domestic property; and
(b) alleges that his reasonable enjoyment of that property is being
adversely affected by the height of a high hedge situated on land
owned or occupied by another person.
(2) This Act also applies to a complaint which—
(a) is made for the purposes of this Act by an owner of a domestic property
that is for the time being unoccupied, and
(b) alleges that the reasonable enjoyment of that property by a prospective
occupier of that property would be adversely affected by the height of
a high hedge situated on land owned or occupied by another person,
as it applies to a complaint falling within subsection (1).
(3) In relation to a complaint falling within subsection (2), references in sections 4
and 5 to the effect of the height of a high hedge on the complainant’s reasonable
enjoyment of a domestic property shall be read as references to the effect that
it would have on the reasonable enjoyment of that property by a prospective
occupier of the property.
(4) This Act does not apply to complaints about the effect of the roots of a high
(5) In this Act, in relation to a complaint —
(a) a person by whom the complaint is made; or
(b) if every person who made the complaint ceases to be an owner
or occupier of the domestic property specified in the complaint,
any other person who is for the time being an owner or occupier
of that property;
and references to the complainant include references to one or more of the
“the neighbouring land” means the land on which the high hedge is
“the relevant authority” means the local authority in whose area that land
2 High hedges
(1) In this Act “high hedge” means so much of a barrier to light or access as—
(a) is formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreens;
(b) rises to a height of more than two metres above ground level.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) a line of evergreens is not to be regarded as
forming a barrier to light or access if the existence of gaps significantly affects
its overall effect as such a barrier at heights of more than two metres above
(3) In this section “evergreen” means an evergreen tree or shrub or a semi-
evergreen tree or shrub.
3 Domestic property
(1) In this Act “domestic property” means—
(a) a dwelling; or
(b) a garden or yard which is used and enjoyed wholly or mainly in
connection with a dwelling.
(2) In subsection (1) “dwelling” means any building or part of a building occupied,
or intended to be occupied, as a separate dwelling.
(3) A reference in this Act to a person’s reasonable enjoyment of domestic
property includes a reference to his reasonable enjoyment of a part of the
4 Procedure for dealing with complaints
(1) This section has effect where a complaint to which this Act applies—
(a) is made to the relevant authority; and
(b) is accompanied by such fee (if any) as the authority may determine.
(2) If the authority consider—
(a) that the complainant has not taken all reasonable steps to resolve the
matters complained of without proceeding by way of such a complaint
to the authority, or
(b) that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious,
the authority may decide that the complaint should not be proceeded with.
(3) If the authority do not so decide, they must decide—
(a) whether the height of the high hedge specified in the complaint is
adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of the
domestic property so specified; and
(b) if so, what action (if any) should be taken in relation to that hedge, in
pursuance of a remedial notice under section 5, with a view to
remedying the adverse effect or preventing its recurrence.
(4) If the authority decide under subsection (3) that action should be taken as
mentioned in paragraph (b) of that subsection, they must as soon as is
(a) issue a remedial notice under section 5 implementing their decision;
(b) send a copy of that notice to the following persons, namely—
(i) every complainant, and
(ii) every owner and every occupier of the neighbouring land; and
(c) notify each of those persons of the reasons for their decision.
(5) If the authority—
(a) decide that the complaint should not be proceeded with, or
(b) decide either or both of the issues specified in subsection (3) otherwise
than in the complainant’s favour,
they must as soon as is reasonably practicable notify the appropriate person or
persons of any such decision and of their reasons for it.
(6) For the purposes of subsection (5)—
(a) every complainant is an appropriate person in relation to a decision
falling within paragraph (a) or (b) of that subsection; and
(b) every owner and every occupier of the neighbouring land is an
appropriate person in relation to a decision falling within paragraph (b)
of that subsection.
(7) A fee determined under subsection (1)(b) must not exceed the amount
prescribed in regulations made—
(a) in relation to complaints relating to hedges situated in England, by the
Secretary of State; and
(b) in relation to complaints relating to hedges situated in Wales, by the
National Assembly for Wales.
(8) A fee received by a local authority by virtue of subsection (1)(b) may be
refunded by them in such circumstances and to such extent as they may
5 Remedial notices
(1) For the purposes of this Act a remedial notice is a notice—
(a) issued by the relevant authority in respect of a complaint to which this
Act applies; and
(b) stating the matters mentioned in subsection (2).
(2) Those matters are—
(a) that a complaint has been made to the authority under this Act about a
high hedge specified in the notice which is situated on land so
(b) that the authority have decided that the height of that hedge is
adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of the
domestic property specified in the notice;
(c) the initial action that must be taken in relation to that hedge before the
end of the compliance period;
(d) any preventative action that they consider must be taken in relation to
that hedge at times following the end of that period while the hedge
remains on the land; and
(e) the consequences under sections 11 and 13 of a failure to comply with
(3) The action specified in a remedial notice is not to require or involve—
(a) a reduction in the height of the hedge to less than two metres above
ground level; or
(b) the removal of the hedge.
(4) A remedial notice shall take effect on its operative date.
(5) “The operative date” of a remedial notice is such date (falling at least 28 days
after that on which the notice is issued) as is specified in the notice as the date
on which it is to take effect.
(6) “The compliance period” in the case of a remedial notice is such reasonable
period as is specified in the notice for the purposes of subsection (2)(c) as the
period within which the action so specified is to be taken; and that period shall
begin with the operative date of the notice.
(7) Subsections (4) to (6) have effect in relation to a remedial notice subject to—
(a) the exercise of any power of the relevant authority under section 6; and
(b) the operation of sections 7 to 9 in relation to the notice.
(8) While a remedial notice has effect, the notice—
(a) shall be a local land charge; and
(b) shall be binding on every person who is for the time being an owner or
occupier of the land specified in the notice as the land where the hedge
in question is situated.
(9) In this Act—
“initial action” means remedial action or preventative action, or both;
“remedial action” means action to remedy the adverse effect of the height
of the hedge on the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of the
domestic property in respect of which the complaint was made; and
“preventative action” means action to prevent the recurrence of the
6 Withdrawal or relaxation of requirements of remedial notices
(1) The relevant authority may—
(a) withdraw a remedial notice issued by them; or
(b) waive or relax a requirement of a remedial notice so issued.
(2) The powers conferred by this section are exercisable both before and after a
remedial notice has taken effect.
(3) Where the relevant authority exercise the powers conferred by this section,
they must give notice of what they have done to—
(a) every complainant; and
(b) every owner and every occupier of the neighbouring land.
(4) The withdrawal of a remedial notice does not affect the power of the relevant
authority to issue a further remedial notice in respect of the same hedge.
7 Appeals against remedial notices and other decisions of relevant authorities
(1) Where the relevant authority—
(a) issue a remedial notice,
(b) withdraw such a notice, or
(c) waive or relax the requirements of such a notice,
each of the persons falling within subsection (2) may appeal to the appeal
authority against the issue or withdrawal of the notice or (as the case may be)
the waiver or relaxation of its requirements.
(2) Those persons are—
(a) every person who is a complainant in relation to the complaint by
reference to which the notice was given; and
(b) every person who is an owner or occupier of the neighbouring land.
(3) Where the relevant authority decide either or both of the issues specified in
section 4(3) otherwise than in the complainant’s favour, the complainant may
appeal to the appeal authority against the decision.
(4) An appeal under this section must be made before—
(a) the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the relevant date; or
(b) such later time as the appeal authority may allow.
(5) In subsection (4) “the relevant date”—
(a) in the case of an appeal against the issue of a remedial notice, means the
date on which the notice was issued; and
(b) in the case of any other appeal under this section, means the date of the
notification given by the relevant authority under section 4 or 6 of the
decision in question.
(6) Where an appeal is duly made under subsection (1), the notice or (as the case
may be) withdrawal, waiver or relaxation in question shall not have effect
pending the final determination or withdrawal of the appeal.
(7) In this Act “the appeal authority” means—
(a) in relation to appeals relating to hedges situated in England, the
Secretary of State; and
(b) in relation to appeals relating to hedges situated in Wales, the National
Assembly for Wales.