Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 it is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission.

To get permission to remove a hedgerow you must contact the planning department. If the authority 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.

Hedgerow - associated features

  1. a bank or wall supporting the hedgerow
  2. less than 10% gaps
  3. on average, at least one tree per 50-metres
  4. at least 3 species from a list of 57 woodland plants
  5. a ditch
  6. a number of connections with other hedgerows, ponds or woodland and
  7. a parallel hedge within 15 metres.

The Criteria

The regulations specify in detail how the criteria are met. This is a simplified guide.

  • Marks a pre-1850 parish or township boundary.
  • Incorporates an archaeological feature.
  • Is part of, or associated with, an archaeological site.
  • Marks the boundary of, or is associated with, a pre-1600 estate or manor.
  • Forms an integral part of a pre-Parliamentary enclosure field system.
  • Contains certain categories of species of birds, animals or plants listed in the Wildlife and Countryside Act or Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) publications.
  • Includes:
  1. at least 7 woody species, on average, in a 30-metre length;
  2. at least 6 woody species, on average, in a 30-metre length and has at least 3 associated features;
  3. at least 6 woody species, on average, in a 30-metre length, including a black-poplar tree, or large-leaved lime, or small-leaved lime, or wild service-tree; or
  4. at least 5 woody species, on average, in a 30-metre length and has at least 4 associated features.

(The number of woody species is reduced by one in northern counties. The list of 56 woody species comprises mainly shrubs and trees. It generally excludes climbers (such as clematis, honeysuckle and bramble) but includes wild roses.)

  • Runs alongside a bridleway, footpath, road used as a public path, or a byway open to all traffic and includes at least 4 woody species, on average, in a 30 metre length and has at least 2 of the associated features listed.

Apply to remove a Hedgerow

To apply to remove a hedgerow, please complete our:

Please note there is separate legislation relating to the High Hedges Act that may help where there is conflict between neighbours about a garden hedge. Guidance can be found on our planning enforcement page