Before you contact the council
Before you contact your local council you should try to do the following:
- talk to your neighbour about the problem
- aim to get a better understanding of each other's concerns and try to work out a solution
- if this doesn't work, invite them to talk to independent mediators who may be able to help you find a way forward
- if your neighbour won't talk or you are nervous about speaking to them, send a polite letter outlining the problems
Remember to keep a record of what you have done, such as copies of letters or a diary.
Making a complaint to your council
If none of this works, you should let your neighbours know that you are intending to make a formal complaint to the council. Involving the council should be a last resort if you are unable to agree a solution with the hedge owner.
Fees for the service
You have to pay the council for this service. Your council will be able to tell you what they will charge but the maximum fee will be £360. If the council finds your complaint is justified and remedial action is taken, the fee will be refunded to you.
A fee is payable because:
- the service benefits an individual rather than the community in general
- a fee helps to make sure that complaints are genuine
- a fee is a payment for a service - not a penalty
- payment of a fee encourages people to try to resolve disputes amicably
- most people who responded to a public consultation about high hedges thought it was fair that the person making the complaint should pay something for the council to intervene in their hedge dispute