Hedgerows

Hedgerow Regulations

In 1997 new regulations came into force to protect important hedgerows, in particular hedgerows which are more than 20 metres long or which meet another hedgerow at either end. It should be noted that garden hedges are not affected. Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 it is now against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission. To get permission to remove a hedgerow you must notify the local planning authority. If the authority decide to prohibit the removal of an important hedgerow it must let you know within six weeks.

If you remove a hedgerow without permission you may face an unlimited fine and you may also have to replace the hedgerow

You do need permission to remove a hedgerow if it is on:

  • agricultural land
  • common land
  • forestry land
  • paddocks
  • Local Nature Reserve
  • Site of Special Scientific interest

You do not need permission under these regulations if:

  • the hedge is shorter than 20 metres and not connected to other hedgerows
  • it is in or borders your garden
  • you are removing it to get access:-
    - either to replace an existing one, (which should be replanted),
    - or where there is no other means of entry or only at a disproportionate cost
  • to gain temporary entry to help in an emergency
    to comply with statutory plant or forestry health order
  • to comply with a statutory notice for preventing interference with electric lines
  • in connection with statutory drainage or flood defence work
  • to implement a planning permission (except in the case of permitted development rights)

BUT you must check that there are no covenants, planning permissions or conditions requiring the hedges to be retained

Removal of a hedgerow means grubbing it up and other actions that result in the hedgerow being destroyed. Coppicing, laying and the removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees are treated as normal management.

Further Information

There are a number of leaflets and publications which provide more information on hedgerow regulations.

Statutory Instrument 1997 No.1160: The Hedgerows Regulations 1997
(Crown Copyright 1997)
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1997/19971160.htm

The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 - A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (Published by the Department of Environment 1997)
http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/

The right hedge for you

A guide to choosing a garden hedge
(Published by the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions, 1999) Available at Winchester City Council Planning