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 submit a Hedgerow Removal Notice to the Local Planning Authority.
Check if a hedgerow is protected
A countryside hedgerow is protected if it meets certain criteria for:
This protection does not apply to hedgerows used to mark the boundary of private gardens.
Visit GOV.UK for information on which hedgerows are protected.
Check if you can work on a hedgerow
Before you start working on a hedgerow, check whether there are any restrictions in place by contacting us.
You must not do any work which might harm nesting birds or destroy their nests. You’ll usually find nesting birds during the main nesting and breeding season from 1 March to 31 August.
Penalties that can be imposed for criminal offences in respect of a single bird, nest or egg contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 include an unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment, or both.
Apply to remove a protected hedgerow
Apply through the Planning Portal using the application type of Other consents/Hedgerow removal notice.
Read the guidance notes for application for Hedgerow Removal on the Planning Portal for help completing the form.
There is no fee for the Hedgerow Removal Notice application.
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
Appeal a hedgerow decision
You can appeal if you disagree with a decision and we have sent you either:
- a retention notice, saying you cannot remove a hedgerow
- a replacement notice, telling you to replace a hedgerow you’ve already removed
You must appeal within 28 days of the date on the decision letter.
Visit GOV.UK for further details about appealing a hedgerow notice.
There is separate high hedges legislation that may help where there is conflict between neighbours about a garden hedge. Visit our high hedges page for more information.