What is a "high hedge" under the law?
The law prescribes what exactly a "high hedge" is and it applies to hedges which:
- Are formed fully or predominantly by one or more species of evergreens
- Are at a height in excess of 2 metres above ground level
- Form a barrier to light
In what circumstances can I complain?
A complaint can be made:
- By the owner or occupier of a property
- Where a relevant high hedge (on the property of another) is affecting the reasonable enjoyment of their property
- Where the complainant can show that all reasonable steps have been taken by them to resolve matters in relation to the high hedge which is the subject of their complaint.
Any complaint must be in the form prescribed by and available from the Development and Planning Authority (DPA).
What is the relief offered?
Where, upon receipt of a complain, the DPA are satisfied that the complaint is justified and that action should be taken, a notice containing the decision (together with the reasons) must be provided to all parties. The notice must specify:
- The relevant high hedge which is the subject of the notice
- The effective date of the notice
- The initial action that must be taken and any conditions
- The period in which the initial action must be taken
- Any preventative action that must be taken by the neighbouring landowner after the initial period outlined above to prevent the reoccurrence of the issue
- The consequences for failure to comply with the notice
- The right of appeal (under s13 of the Law) against the decision of the authority
However, the notice must not require:
- The removal of a high hedge or a reduction in the height to less than two metres above ground level or
- Any action to be taken within 28 days of the date of issue of the notice
Where the Notice has prescribed an action to be taken and the relevant landowner has not taken this action, a person authorised by the DPA may enter onto the land which is subject to a Notice to take the action prescribed under the notice, the costs of doing so are then recoverable from the relevant landowner by way of a civil debt, recoverable by the States of Guernsey.
The Bailiff may issue a warrant concerning an authorised person's access to a relevant property for either the purposes of inspection or action under the Law.
A failure by a person to comply with the requirements of a Notice, either completion of an initial or preventative action, is an offence, and shall be liable to conviction of a fine not exceeding level 4 on the uniform scale.
A register of each High Hedge that a Notice has been issued against will be maintained by the DPA.
How much does it cost?
The fee for both making a complaint will be £350.00, although there are some concessions when more than one neighbour complains against the same hedge.