Hedges

Hedgerow maintenance is restricted by the law during nesting season. Therefore if a hedgerow is believed to be the home to nesting birds, we will be unable to carry out works until the birds have vacated.

How we manage our hedgerows

Landscape hedges were never designed to act as a security or privacy barrier but were planted to soften the built environment, or retained as former field boundary features pre-dating the development of Milton Keynes. Hedges are living, ever-changing organisms and consequently do not have the static qualities, such as those of a fence, required for security or privacy. Park & Open Space hedges are managed as part of the councils' landscape asset and are cut on a cyclical basis.

Report a Hedgerow issue

The council does not undertake any of this work on land that is owned by The Parks Trust or the parish councils listed below:

These areas have appointed their own contractors or are undertaking the work themselves and any complaints, compliments or enquiries should be made directly to the respective Town or Parish Councils or the Parks Trust.  Land that is the responsibility of The Parks Trust can be found on the council mapping system “My MK”.

Private Hedges (High Hedges)

Advice on neighbour disputes at Gov.uk

Summary

The height of hedges is not automatically limited and the Act only becomes applicable if there is a dispute between a hedge owner and their neighbours. The legislation merely provides the facility to involve the local authority in a dispute if it cannot be settled amicably.

A hedge cannot be defined as a "nuisance" or "illegal" unless it is named in a complaint as such and the hedge owner would be officially notified by the council in these cases.

For a complaint to be investigated the following criteria must be met:

  • The hedge must comprise wholly or predominantly of a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs.
  • It must be over 2 metres high.
  • It must act, to some degree, as a barrier to light or access.
  • Because of its height, it adversely affects the complainant’s reasonable enjoyment of their domestic property (Their home or garden).

Appeals

Both the complainant and the hedge owner will have a right to appeal against the local authority decision to the planning inspectorate.

Penalties

Failure to comply with a notice to reduce/remove a hedge could result in a fine of up to £1,000. The local authority would also have the power to carry out works itself and recover costs from the hedge owner.

Fees

Local authorities will charge a fee to cover the costs of investigation and administration. Currently Milton Keynes Council charges a fee of £540 or £270.00 for concessions (OAP etc.) which must be enclosed with the application.

Mediation

Before we consider any application, you must ensure that an attempt has been made to settle the matter amicably between the parties which may include use of a mediation service.

Application Form

In the rare instances that the Mediation service does not resolve the matter the next stage would be to liaise with us.

See related links for our residents to access the High Hedges Guidance details and Application form.

Last Updated: 3 September 2018