Management of roadside hedges

Hedges are used as boundary features around residential properties as they can be attractive and can give an element of privacy. However, sometimes residential hedges can be considered a nuisance.


Wherever possible an allowance of at least 5.5m vertical clearance for trees and hedges overhanging a road and 2.4m over a footway also maintaining at least 0.5m from the kerb/edge of the road.

The majority of hedges that front public highways are the responsibility of the owner who could be a private householder eg in a residential area, a farmer in rural areas or a company.

Overgrown hedges can cause many problems for highway users ranging from obscuring visibility at junctions to inconvenience to pedestrians walking along footways and footpaths.

The role of the Parish Council is to ensure that landowners or occupiers responsible for overgrown hedges, maintain them to avoid such problems. Normally, a politely worded letter or a telephone call to the landowner is sufficient and often achieves the desired action. However, in some cases it may be necessary to serve a Hedge Cutting Notice under the Highways Act 1980.

In many cases owners are unaware of their responsibilities for maintaining hedges so Parish Councils are encouraged to communicate them locally where hedge maintenance may be causing problems.