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Guidance on hedge overgrowth

Landowner Responsibility

It is the property or landowner's responsibility to ensure hedges are cut back sufficiently to ensure that no overgrowth affects footways or carriageways.

It is also the property or landowner’s responsibility to remove clippings following cutting.

Hedges and Overgrowth

Information, guidance, and responsibilities of landowners whose hedges and trees overhang public highways.

The Landowner has a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to ensure that the highway is not obstructed. Even small overgrowths can be hazardous particularly to blind and visually impaired people who often use property boundaries as a guide, or when a footpath is narrow.

It is a requirement that anything overhanging must be at least:

  • 2.3m above the footway, cycleway, or verge

  • 5.3m above the road surface

Overgrown hedges next to footpaths and roads pose a real hazard to people who are disabled or visually impaired and young children or pedestrians who risk injury or damage to their faces or clothing from thorns and branches. If the pavement is narrow or the obstruction is excessive, they may be forced into the road.

On junctions and bends overgrown hedges may obstruct sight lines and the clear view of motorists. They may also obscure traffic signs or streetlights, increasing the risk of accidents.


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