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Leylandii owners could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to cut down their high hedge when ordered to.

New legislation now in force means local authorities can intervene in disputes over high hedges. They will be able to decide if the hedge height is unreasonable and spell out exactly what action must be taken. Complainants could also face charges. Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "It is good news that people will now have somewhere to turn for a fair decision."

Until now, local authorities have been powerless to act in disputes over high hedges. But under the Anti-social Behavior Act 2003, local authorities will be able to decide if a hedge is stopping someone's reasonable enjoyment of their home or garden. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) said: "Where it is needed, the local authority will be able to serve a remedial notice to the hedge owner to identify what they must do to sort the problem out. "If they fail to comply with the notice, they could be fined up to £1,000."

People complaining about high hedges will have to show they have tried to resolve the matter with the hedge owner. They will have to pay a fee, set by their local council, for their complaint to be investigated. A hedge must be evergreen, more than two metres high and blocking out light, access or reasonable enjoyment of neighbours' property for it to be considered offensive. A minister in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, said: "This legislation offers a light at the end of the tunnel for people whose lives have been made a misery from high hedges. "Out of control hedges can block the daylight from neighbours' homes and gardens, becoming a real drain on their quality of life. "Involving the local authority should only be a last resort and I urge people to talk to one another to resolve disputes before it goes too far.

"This new legislation is yet another example that the government will take action against those who continually show a lack of consideration for others."

Quality Guaranteed
  • Complainant must try to resolve matter privately first
  • Council can order hedge to be cut to two metres
  • Failure to comply could mean a fine of £1,000
  • Applies to all evergreen hedges
A well maintained hedge