Trees and Hedges
Hedgerow Removal Notices
It is a criminal offence to remove a protected hedgerow. You could get a fine of up to £5,000 if you break the rules. In serious cases you could get an unlimited fine for removing hedgerows in cases referred to the Crown Court.
What is a Hedgerow Removal Notice?
The Application for Hedgerow Removal Notice form should be used by anyone proposing to remove a hedgerow, or part of a hedgerow, covered by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997.
The regulations are designed to protect important hedgerows in England and Wales. Anyone proposing to remove a hedgerow, or part of a hedgerow, covered by the regulations, must first notify the local planning authority by submitting a Hedgerow Removal Notice.
- Hedgerow: is not separately defined in section 97 of the Environment Act 1995 or in the Regulations. The Oxford English Dictionary definition (2nd edition, 1989) however states that it is “a row of bushes forming a hedge, with the trees, etc growing in it”.
- Remove: the term is defined in section 97(8) of the 1995 Act as “uproot or otherwise destroy”. A judgment on whether the proposed work or other activity constitutes 'removal' will have to be made according to the circumstances of the individual case.
Who should submit the hedgerow removal notice?
Responsibility to notify the local planning authority rests on the owner or, in the case of an agricultural holding or a farm business tenancy, a tenant of the land on which the hedgerow(s) concerned are located.
If you are uncertain about whether your proposed works are affected by the regulations, you are advised to submit a Hedgerow Removal Notice to the local planning authority for determination.
- Countryside hedgerows: protection and management includes details on:
Checking if a hedgerow is protected
Appealing a hedgerow decision
When you don’t need to apply to remove a hedgerow
Reporting a suspected hedgerow offence