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 gov.uk 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:
- there’s a tree preservation order in place
- it’s in a conservation area
- you need a felling licence - issued by the Forestry Commission
- there are any nesting birds – you must not do any work which might harm wild birds or destroy their nests