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We are not responsible for the maintenance of the majority of hedges alongside the highway. For the most part, these hedges mark the boundary with private property and it is actually the responsibility of the adjacent landowner or occupier to properly maintain them and any trees or other vegetation the hedge contains where overhanging growth is preventing highway users from passing safely.

Hedges on private land

Trees or hedges on private land are the responsibility of the landowner or occupier. If you are unsure if you are the owner, check your property deeds or contact Land Registry.

Highways’ response to obstructive hedges

We encourage owners and occupiers to cut hedges, and work closely with parish councils to identify occupiers who neglect this activity.

When a hedge is allowed to grow so that it interferes with the use of the highway then the council’s Highway Inspection Team will serve a notice on the landowner requiring them to trim the hedge within a specified time.

If no action is taken then the Highway Authority may send further written instructions to the landowner. If no action is taken beyond further notices being sent the council may undertake the work themselves and recoup the cost from the owner.If you notice a problem with a hedge that you believe to be maintained by Highways, you can report this online.

What landowners are expected to do

Hedges which are adjacent to the highway should not be allowed to interfere with the passage or pedestrians. Landowners and occupiers are required by law to trim any hedge next to the public highway where the growth is preventing the passage, or affecting the safety; of the highway user.

The Highway Act 1980 Section 154 states:

“…Where a hedge, tree or shrub overhangs a highway or any other road or footpath to which the public has access so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of vehicles or pedestrians, or obstructs or interferes with the view of drivers of vehicles or the light from a public lamp, a competent authority may, by notice either to the owner of the hedge, tree or shrub or to the occupier of the land on which it is growing, require him… …to lop or cut it as to remove the cause of the danger, obstruction or interference…”

Check hedges on your land bordering the highway regularly and cut them back if they’re obstructing visibility or the passage of vehicles or pedestrians. Also check vegetation is not obscuring signs or streetlights.

Carrying out work on your hedges

The RSBP provides advice on the best time of year to carry out any trimming to avoid the nesting season. Any hedge cuttings that fall into ditches or grips should be removed as soon as possible. Cuttings that fall onto the carriageway should be removed immediately since they cause a nuisance to highway users.

The Highways Act 1980 Section 161 states:

“…If a person without lawful authority or excuse, deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine…”

“…If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, allows any filth, dirt, lime or other offensive matter or thing to run or flow on to a highway from any adjoining premises, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine…”

Warning signs for hedge cutting

If the hedge is to be cut from the field side and there is little to no verge, then signs advising the highway user that work is in progress should be used even if the carriageway is not going to be obstructed.

If the hedge is to be cut from the highway side and the tractor must run wholly or partly on the carriageway then relevant signs should be used to advise the motorist that the carriageway may be restricted.

Any warning signs used should be placed at either end of the length to be cut but they must not be more than 1 mile apart. If the working length exceeds this then the signs must be moved as the work proceeds.

Further queries over the types of signage to use and when to use them can be directed to the local Community Traffic Management Officer. Simply raise a new report online.

You have closed my report and advised that the hedge is not on Highway land. How do I dispute this?

The Highways inspector will check all appropriate reports to determine our boundaries. If you believe that this is wrong, you will need to provide evidence of the boundary.

Please create a new report online and upload any supporting evidence.

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