Private trees and hedges

It is a landowner's legal responsibility to make sure that their trees and hedges are safe and maintained. 

We do not deal with trees on private land unless it is causing an issue on council owned land.

Trees overhanging your garden

If a neighbours tree is overhanging your property you have a legal right to prune it back to your boundary line unless the tree is protected. Trees can be protected if they are within a conservation area or if they are covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

You may be prosecuted for working on a protected tree without permission.  To find out if a tree is protected visit tree works and preservation.

If the tree is not protected you can trim branches and roots that cross into your property, but if you do more than this, your neighbour can take you to court for damaging their property. It is advisable to let your neighbour know before you start and when carrying out the work be careful not to trespass onto their land. The branches you cut off should be offered back to the tree owner. If the owner does not want them then you will be responsible for disposing of them.


Hedges can provide screening for both privacy and security and can help bring wildlife into your garden. However, if a hedge is allowed to grow unchecked it can be a nuisance. Legislation has now been introduced to tackle this problem.

If you are troubled by someone else’s hedge please read the guidance - over the garden hedge.

If you have gone through all the steps outlined in this guidance and it has not worked you can make a complaint to us.  We can reject your complaint if we feel you have not taken all the reasonable steps to settle the dispute. 

Making a complaint

Before you make a complaint to us we recommend that you read the guidance - High hedges: complaining to the council

Submitting a formal complaint costs £450.

To make a formal complaint please contact us on:

01903 737951

What happens next

If we decide action is necessary, we will issue a formal notice to your neighbour which explains what they must do to the hedge and when they must do it by. It can also require your neighbour to keep the hedge trimmed to its agreed size.

Failure to reduce or remove a hedge once given notice could result in a fine of up to £1,000. We also have the power to carry out the work and recover the costs from the hedge owner.

Appeal a decision we have made about a hedge

Both the complainant and the hedge owner will have a right to appeal against the decision made. Appeals must be made to the independent Planning Inspectorate. They must receive your appeal within 28 days of the date of the decision letter.