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overgrown leylandi


By Topcat

kent, United Kingdom Gb

Our neighbours have approx 40ft straggly, overgrown leylandi trees which overshadow our back garden, removing huge amounts of light and moisture. They did allow us, (at our expense), to cut them back 5 years ago but they are as bad again. Does anyone have any advice...other than move !



I'm sure that it is now illegal to allow Leylandii to get as high as that. Why don't you get on to your local Citizens' Advice Bureau and ask them? They will be up-to-date with the law.

Good luck.

18 Jan, 2009


I agree with Spritzhenry, however in our area there is a fee for a formal complaint of £300 payable to the district council for anyone disputing hedge height - may be well worth the fee in your case. Good luck.

18 Jan, 2009


Just a thought - Andrewr, another member on GOY corresponded recently with me about these menaces. It's possible he has a bit of up-to-date expertise, worth asking him.

18 Jan, 2009


oops, i meant to say Doctorbob1, my mistake.

18 Jan, 2009


Firstly, are they planted along the boundary, and does the boundary fall under your legal responsibility or your neighbours. You can check this on your title plan, it is marked with an inverted 'T'.

Secondly, for the law to be implemented there has to be more than one leylandii to constitute a hedge.

Thirdly the law states that the hedge should be no higher than 2 mtrs.

This is something that some local authorities are getting involved in and are able to charge for the privelige.

This legislation was brought to us under the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 and it is up to the local authority to decide whether a hedge, and this is any evergreen hedge not just leylandii is taking away the complainants enjoyment of the garden and they are allowed to cut the hedge down to 2m in height, however the government have also attached a 'statutory instrument' which is a guideline or a regulation that accompanies a statue or law which could totally conflict any action that could be taken by a local authority

Deputy Prime Minister's guidelines also state that councils must not cut hedges by more than "one-third of their height" as this might result in the "death of trees" for which the council could be sued by the hedge owner. This is causing all sorts of problems, but you need to keep nagging the council to help. Don't mention any conflicting legislation to the council or your neighbours, but it is important to know it exists.

Most important thing is to be sure that the boundary is the neighbours responsibility and to find out who planted the hedge, etc. If it is their responsibility write them a formal letter stating that

It is their legal responsibility to maintain their boundary/property

the hedge has taken away any enjoyment you have of the garden as it is dense and the area is dark.

State you have attempted to resolve this problem with them and have paid for the hedge to be trimmed which was ultimately their responsibility.

Give them a timescale to cut the hedge down to 2m - whatever you deem reasonable. A soon as possible really so there is no danger of disturbing nesting birds.

State that should they fail to comply with your reasonable request for them to maintain their property to prevent loss of enjoyment to yourselves then you will under The Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 seek the support of the local authority.

State that the local authority are certain to implement an order to cut the hedge down to 2m

State that the fine for non- compliance is £1000.

It is important that you are clear about what you have attempted to do with little or no assistance from them, and it is clear that you are confident that you will go to the local authority to get a resolution.
Be polite and also state that you would hope that you could resolve this without any legal action.

Best of luck

19 Jan, 2009


You can trim back any bits that grow over your side, as long as you 'give' the bits back ie shove them over the fence! I think people should need planning permission to plant them!!

19 Jan, 2009


Check out this link. It is Part 8 The Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 and that is the part you need to read

Copy and paste this onto your web browser and I hope you can understand it!
You sound like you have a good case, get on to your council, but first write a letter to your neighbours including a copy of Part 8 of the statute. If the neighbours refuse to cut down the hedge they will be fined £1000 and will be responsible for the Councils costs to have the hedge cut down which on average is £800. Point all of this out to them. Make sure you keep a copy of the letter you send and a diary of any other contact/altercation by your neighbours regarding this. The down side to contacting and getting the council involved is a cost to you, but it will be worth it in the long run. Make sure you mention that you have had the hedge cut down before and ask if the council can order them to continue to maintain it so you are not doing this again next year after they have allowed the hedge to grow again!

19 Jan, 2009


You are fantastic at these kind of cases, Andrea! I am full of admiration at your knowledge. I may be picking your brains on things our new neighbours want to do....

19 Jan, 2009


Andrea is giving you good general guidelines.
You have a bigger argument concerning the light issue, which you are being deprived of.
Many Councils will only help if part of the trees are on their boundaries, it's different from county to county.

19 Jan, 2009


If you read the legislation Doctorbob1 you will note that it refers to the enjoyment of the dwelling and refers to light issues as well, it is all covered by part 8 of the statute. With reference to local authorities only acting if the hedge is partially on their land then this is unacceptable and they do not have the option to choose. The legislation clearly states what this means in part 65, section 8. The statute is very clear about the meaning of domestic property and there is no mention of council owned land at all. If the local authority where Topcat live use this excuse then he should use part 65 to argue his point, they do not have any legal excuse not to help unless they do not deem the hedge as a problem, but that is unlikely.
Right of light is not something that many councils consider now, or nuisance, that is why this section was added to the Act in the first place as 'hedge wars' have swept the country.

19 Jan, 2009


Andrea, you are very wise and well-informed, and I find your surname so fitting!
For anyone else who didn't know, it means "judge".

20 Jan, 2009


Yes I know, it means 'judge' in German. I'm not a qualified solicitor, but I did study law and practiced a bit, but I went on maternity leave and fate saw to it that my health became more problematic during and after the pregnancy, hey ho!!

21 Jan, 2009

How do I say thanks?

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