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The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 protect many countryside hedgerows (which are not on/within the boundary of a dwellinghouse) from being removed including being uprooted or otherwise destroyed.

If you wish to remove a hedgerow (or part of a hedgerow) you will need to apply to the Council.

  • To get permission to remove a hedgerow, you must write to your local planning authority.
  • If the Council decide to prohibit removal of an important hedgerow, it must let you know within 6 weeks.
  • If you remove a hedgerow without permission (whether it is important or not) you may face an unlimited fine. You may also have to replace the hedgerow
  • It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission.

The requirement for a hedgerow removal notice applies if the hedge:

  • grows in, or adjacent to any common land, local nature reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), or land used for agriculture, forestry of the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies of donkeys and
  • has a continuous length of at least 20 metres, or if less than 20 metres, meets another hedgerow at each end (When working out the total length of a hedgerow, any gap resulting from a breaking these regulations and any gap less than 20 metres should be treated as part of the hedgerow.)

The regulations do not apply to:

  • any hedgerow within the curtilage of, or marking a boundary of the curtilage of, a dwelling house.
  • making a new opening to replace an existing access to land, provided that the existing gap is replanted within eight months
  • obtaining temporary access to any land to assist in an emergency
  • obtaining access to land where another means of access is not available or is available only at disproportionate cost for the purposes of national defence
  • carrying out development for which planning permission has been granted or, in some cases, is deemed to have been granted
  • carrying out work under the relevant acts for the purpose of flood defence or land drainage
  • preventing the spread of, or ensuring the eradication of plant or tree pests notifiable under plant health legislation
  • carrying out by the Secretary of State of his highway functions
  • carrying out any felling, lopping or cutting back required or permitted under the relevant act to prevent the obstruction of or interference with electric lines and plant or to prevent danger
  • the proper management of the hedgerow

Please note this is a summary, for full details please view the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.