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High Hedges

The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 came into effect on 31 March 2012. It gives local authorities in Northern Ireland the powers to deal with complaints about high hedges that block light to a neighbour’s property.

If a neighbour makes a complaint about the height of your hedge, the council, after assessment, may have the authority to serve you with a notice to cut it down to a reasonable height.

Criteria for Complaints

There are a number of criteria that a hedge needs to meet before someone can make a complaint. You cannot make a complaint about:

  • A single tree
  • non-evergreen hedges or trees
  • trees within a forest or woodland (more than 0.2 hectares)
  • roots, dangerous trees, or leaves

If you own a high hedge, you need to consider the following questions about your hedge:

  • Is it (or the portion that is causing problems) made up of a line of two or more trees or shrubs?
  • Is it mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen?
  • Is it more than two metres above ground level?
  • Even if there are gaps in the foliage or between the trees, is the hedge still capable of obstructing light?

Further information can be found in the downloads section below.

Downloads
  • guidance for complainants
  • guidance for hedge owners
  • high hedges faqs
  • technical guidance - northern ireland high hedges act