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High Hedges Act
The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 came into effect on 31 March 2012. It gives district councils certain powers to deal with complaints about high hedges which are having an adverse effect on a neighbour’s enjoyment of their property through acting as a barrier to light.
A high hedge as defined in the Act must: ~
- Act as a barrier to light
- Be formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs; and
- Raise to a height of more than 2 meters above ground level
The legislation does not cover: ~
- Single trees
- Non-evergreen hedges or trees
- Trees within a forest or woodland (of a size greater than 0.2 hectares)
- Roots of trees, dangerous trees, leaves
Making a Complaint
Before making a formal complaint to the Council we recommend that you try to resolve the issue amicably with your neighbour. You should talk to your neighbour or write them a letter to highlight your concerns and provide them with a reasonable period to deal with the problems you have raised. Please note that any correspondence, written or verbal must have taken place after the Act came into effect (31 March 2012). You must ensure you keep a record of all correspondence as you will need to submit this as evidence if you decide to lodge a formal complaint. The Council may reject your complaint if you cannot demonstrate that you have tried to sort out the problem yourself. Please note that complaints can only be lodged by the owner/occupier (e.g. landlord and tenant) of the affected property.
If you decide to lodge a formal complaint we recommend you download our guidance document ‘High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 - Guidance for Complaints’ on how you can deal with a high hedge problem. You will need to submit a fee of £360 to pursue your complaint. If your complaint is upheld, this will be refunded to you. If you lodge a complaint and you fail to meet all of the criteria in Section 2 of the complaint form a refund will not be issued.
To lodge a complaint the following information is required: ~
- Completed complaint form
- Location map showing position of hedge
- £360 fee made payable to Carrickfergus Borough Council
- Evidence of negotiations with your neighbour
A complaint form can be downloaded by clicking the following link: ~
Guidance for Hedge Owners
If you have a high hedge and a neighbour takes a complaint against you, it is important you read our guidance document for hedge owners.
As a hedge owner, you are responsible for looking after any hedge on your property and for ensuring it is not causing a nuisance to any neighbouring properties. We would encourage that you maintain the hedges on your property at a reasonable height and be mindful if your neighbours have any concerns.
If you would like further information, please view our High Hedges Advice Document by clicking the link below, or contact the Building Services Office on the telephone number provided..
For further information please contact:
Telephone: 028 9335 8061