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The Hedgerow Regulations

Information on the Hedgerow Regulations including guidance documents and leaflets, also how to make an application to the Local Planning Authority.

The Hedgerow Regulations (1997) came into force on the 01 June 1997 under section 97 of the Environment Act 1995. They were introduced to protect important hedgerows in the countryside (and urban areas) by requiring a notification procedure to take place before any works can be carried out. It should be noted that garden hedges are not affected.

The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 (Statutory Instrument 1997 : 1160 (PDF Document, 224.58 Kb)

Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 it is now against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without the prior permission of the Local Planning Authority. To get permission to remove a hedgerow you must notify the Local Planning Authority. If the authority decide to prohibit the removal of an important hedgerow it must let you know within six weeks (by serving a hedgerow Retention Notice). There is a right of appeal against a Hedgerow Retention Notice.

If you remove a hedgerow without permission you may face an unlimited fine and you may also have to replace the hedgerow.

The Hedgerow Regulations do not apply to every hedge. You will need permission to remove a hedgerow if it is on:

  1. agricultural land
  2. common land
  3. forestry land
  4. paddocks
  5. Local Nature Reserve
  6. Site of Special Scientific interest

You will not need permission under these regulations if:

  1. the hedge is shorter than 20 metres and not connected to other hedgerows
  2. it is in or borders your garden
  3. you are removing it to get access:-
    - either to replace an existing one, (which should be replanted),
    - or where there is no other means of entry or only at a disproportionate cost
  4. to gain temporary entry to help in an emergency
  5. to comply with statutory plant or forestry health order
  6. to comply with a statutory notice for preventing interference with electric lines
  7. in connection with statutory drainage or flood defence work
  8. to implement a planning permission (except in the case of permitted development rights)

However, you must check that there are no covenants, or planning conditions which require the hedges to be retained.

Removal of a hedgerow means grubbing it up and other actions that result in the hedgerow being destroyed. Coppicing, laying and the removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees are treated as normal management.

A summary of the law is contained in the Defra leaflet 'Hedgerow Regulations: Your Question Answered'. More detailed guidance is contained in 'The Hedgerows Regulations 1997: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice'. You can request a copy of these free of charge by emailing: farmland.conservation@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively you may download copy of the documents below.

The Hedgerow Regulations - Your Questions Answered (PDF Document, 424.5 Kb)

The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 : A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (Part 1 of 3) (PDF Document, 852.59 Kb)

The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 : A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (Part 2 of 3) (PDF Document, 688.97 Kb)

The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 : A Guide to the Law and Good Practice (Part 3 of 3) (PDF Document, 454.24 Kb)

How to make an application to the local planning authority

You can either submit an application electronically (via the Planning Portal) or in paper format by downloading the application forms below.

Application form 21

Notes for guidance

Checklist for Application Form 21 (PDF Document, 27 Kb)

Further information on the Council’s validation document can also be found on the how to submit a Planning (or associated) Application web page.

Alternatively a paper copy of the forms can be collected from the Council Offices or sent out to you on request.

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