Countryside hedges: protection and management

Check if a countryside hedgerow is protected, what you need to consider before doing work on it and how to apply to remove a protected hedgerow.

The Hedgerow Regulations (1997) protect countryside hedgerows of a certain age or length, and those in certain locations.

Countryside hedgerows include those which are on or next to:

  • land used for agriculture or forestry
  • a village green
  • a site of special scientific interest
  • a nature reserve

Anyone proposing to remove part or all of a hedgerow that is protected must apply to us by submitting a Hedgerow Removal Notice.

You could be fined up to £5,000 if you break the rules for removing a protected hedgerow. You could get an unlimited fine if your case is referred to the Crown Court.

Check if a hedgerow is protected

See guidance to check the criteria for protected hedgerows and find out when you do not need to apply to remove a hedgerow.

Apply to remove a protected hedgerow

Apply through the Planning Portal using the application type of Other consents/Hedgerow removal notice.

We will respond to your notice within 42 days of receipt and send you one of the following documents:

  • a hedgerow retention notice – if the hedge is protected and must be kept
  • a written notice giving you permission to remove it in the way you‘ve proposed

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if you are unhappy with our decision. You must appeal within 28 days of the date on the notice we have sent you.

Check if you can do other work on a hedgerow

Before trimming, cutting, coppicing or laying hedgerow trees you must check if: