High hedges

The government passed the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to address the issue of tall evergreen hedges causing problems for people.

You can make a complaint to the Council about certain types of hedge, but only after you have tried to resolve the issue in other ways. To make a complaint, you need to fill out forms, provide evidence and pay a fee of £300.

What is a high hedge?

  • under the legislation, a high hedge is described as being "formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreens"
    • Complaints about individual trees cannot be investigated

  • a high hedge is further described as exceeding 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches) in height

  • only certain species are covered. Evergreen (such as Leyland Cypress, other conifers, or laurel) or semi-evergreen (such as holly or privet) are included
    • Deciduous species such as hornbeam or hawthorn do not come under this legislation

  • complaints can only be taken about the height of hedges. Root damage and subsidence remain civil issues

Grounds for complaint

Complaints will only be taken on if all other attempts at a resolution have failed. The Council will act as a last-ditch arbitrator in such disputes.

Keep a record of all written correspondence with your neighbour to support any complaint you decide to make. This will serve as evidence in any formal application to prove that you have attempted to resolve the situation.

Before involving the Council, you should read the following central government leaflets (see 'Related documents'):-

If you can't agree with your neighbour about the height of the hedge and want to take action, contact the Council to get the forms for a formal complaint.

Applications must be validated before being accepted for processing, so please send:

  • relevant forms filled in
  • appropriate documentation and evidence
  • alleged harm caused
  • application fee
    • Wakefield Council has set this at £300. Councils have the discretion to charge whatever they think appropriate

Copies of all documents must be sent to the neighbour.

Additional information

  • when processing complaints, a Council officer will assess the ideal height for the hedge based on its:
    • location
    • distance from properties
    • current height

    • a remedial notice will then be issued detailing the required works

  • both parties can appeal the Council's decision under the legislation
  • Please note that any complaints that are not considered meeting the necessary criteria will not be accepted
    • fees will be returned if the complaint is invalid

More information

If you require further information, please contact us using the information below.

Contact Us

Tree Preservation Development Management Wakefield Council Wakefield One PO Box 700 Wakefield WF1 2EB

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