The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 came into effect on 31 March 2012. It gives local authorities in Northern Ireland the powers to deal with complaints about high hedges that block light to a neighbour’s property.
This means that if a neighbour makes a complaint about the height of your hedge, we have the authority to serve you with a notice to cut it down to a reasonable height.
Criteria For Complaints:
There are a number of criteria that a hedge needs to meet before someone can make a complaint. If you own a high hedge, you need to consider the following questions about your hedge.
- Is it (or the portion that is causing problems) made up of a line of two or more trees or shrubs?
- Is it mostly evergreen or semi-evergreen?
- Is it more than two metres above ground level?
- Even if there are gaps in the foliage or between the trees, is the hedge still capable of obstructing light?
You cannot make a complaint about:
- single trees
- non-evergreen hedges or trees
- trees within a forest or woodland (more than 0.2 hectares)
- roots, dangerous trees, or leaves.
Further information, including Technical Guidance and Frequently asked questions can be found in the downloads below or by contacting the Environmental Health Department.
Technical Guidance - Northern Ireland High Hedges Act (681Kb)
High Hedges FAQs (60Kb)
Updated Guidance for Complainants (232Kb)
Guidance for Hedge Owners (60Kb)
Common Questions (37Kb)
High Hedges leaflet