The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 is designed to help people who are affected by high hedges acting as a barrier to light to their domestic property.

What is classed as a High Hedge?

A high hedge, for the purposes of the legislation, must be:

  • 2 or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees, bushes or shrubs (including holly, laurel, rhododendron and leylandii)
  • Roughly in a line without substantial gaps between the trees, bushes or shrubs
  • On land owned by another person
  • Be a barrier to light
  • Be over 2 metres tall

Making a Complaint

Please note the Council cannot action complaints made about single trees, bushes or shrubs

Where you have a problem with a high hedge you will be expected to have made reasonable attempts to resolve the issue before a complaint can be made to the Council.  You will also be required to provide evidence of such attempts made to resolve the issue.

The Council will not negotiate between neighbours but will investigate and make a judgement as to whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of their property.  The Council will only intervene if a complaint is made and even then, each case will be determined on its own merits.  The fee for lodging a formal complaint regarding a high hedge is set at £360.00.  Without this fee being paid the Council will not action your complaint.

Following the making of a complaint, if the Council decides that the complaint is justified following its investigation, it will serve a Remedial Action Notice on the hedge owner specifying what needs to be done to manage the hedge and the date by which this should be done.  In this case, the fee will be refunded in full to the complainant and the charge transferred to the hedge owner.

It is an offence not to comply with the terms of a Remedial Action Notice.  The penalty for non-compliance will be a fine of up to £1,000 with the possibility of further fines for continued non-compliance.

If the complaint is not justified no refund of the fee will be made to the complainant.

For further information contact the Environmental Health Service by completing the online form below, enquire here.