Rural hedgerows are an essential feature within our countryside, fulfilling many roles such as wildlife habitat/corridors; landscape/archaeological features; historical boundary markers; stock containment and food source. Many have been progressively lost in recent decades due to changes in agricultural practice.
Protected hedgerows include those which:
- grows in, or adjacent to any common land, Local Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest, or land used for agriculture, forestry of the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies of donkeys; and
- has a continuous length of at least 20 metres (including gaps), or if less than 20 metres, meets another hedgerow at each end.
The regulations do not apply to hedges that adjoin a residential garden and so cannot be relied upon to protect hedges that may now form the boundary of new housing developments.
If a hedge fulfils the above criteria, the owner or applicant must give 6 weeks' notice in writing to the local planning authority before the hedge can be removed. Failure to comply with the regulations can carry a fine imposed by a Magistrates’ court of up to £5000. For anyone convicted in a Crown court, the fine is unlimited.
If we refuse an application for removal of a hedgerow, we will serve a Hedgerow Retention Notice. The criteria we use to decide will include the value of features within hedgerows from an archaeological, historical, landscape or wildlife perspective.
Appeals against Hedgerow Retention Notices must be made within 28 days to the Planning Inspectorate.
Please use the links below if you require an application form for a Hedgerow Removal Notice and/or guidance notes.