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Work to protected trees

High hedges

What is a 'high hedge'?

  • a hedge that is formed wholly or mainly by a row of two or more trees or shrubs
  • rises to a height of more than two metres above ground level
  • forms a barrier to light

The following additional criteria are used to define a hedge:

  • Intention at time of planting - if the shrubs/trees were planted as a linear feature then it is considered as a hedge;
  • Spacing of shrubs/plants - if specimens were planted 600mm apart or under, then it would be considered as a hedge. If greater than 600mm then it would be considered as woodland planting; and
  • Maintenance - The feature should have been maintained as a hedge in the past.

Applying for a high hedge notice

If you have a problem with the height of your neighbours hedge, you can apply for a high hedge notice. The Scottish Government has published guidance for local authorities on high hedges. This guide fully sets out our role and provides information on what you should do before applying. 

Before making an application for a high hedge notice you must be able to demonstrate that you have tried to reach a solution with the hedge owner, showing reasonable effort has been made in a reasonable timescale. 

We will not be able to accept applications without evidence that you have tried to resolve the issue.

Making an application

When you have the required evidence in place, you can make an application using the Application for High Hedge Notice form.

The fee for making an application is £450 (or £225 if you are eligible for disability benefits).

Your application must contain all of the following information:

  • the application form fully completed and signed by the applicant
  • the fee of £450 (or £225 if you are eligible for disability benefits)
  • details of the location of the hedge
  • confirmation that the applicant is the owner or the occupier of the home affected by the high hedge, and the hedge is located within another property
  • evidence that you have tried to resolve the issue

If you fail to provide any of this information, the application will be returned.

Deciding your application

We will acknowledge your application and let the hedge owner(s) know, giving them 28 days to comment. We will then pass any comments of the owner back to you for information. We would then undertake a site visit and consider all matters relevant to the case before coming to a decision on the application. Every case will be judged on its own merits.

We would notify both the applicant and owner(s) of our decision and the reasons for it as soon as possible. If our decision is to take action we would send details of the high hedge notice to both parties. If the the required steps of the notice are then not complied with by the owner, we would have the power to undertake works to the high hedge ourselves, and then reclaim the costs.

How to appeal the decision

If either the hedge owner or the applicant disagree with our decision, an appeal can be made. You must appeal within 28 days of the issue of a notice and before the effective date on the notice. The Scottish Government has provided information on high hedge appeals, including guidance on how to appeal and on the appeals process.

For free impartial planning advice you can visit the Planning Aid Scotland website. Planning Aid Scotland is an independent charity which offers free, impartial and confidential planning advice, provided by staff and volunteers all of whom are chartered planners.

Page last updated:
21 Dec 2023

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