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Removing a hedgerow

The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 protect most countryside hedgerows from being removed (including being uprooted or otherwise destroyed).  There are rules you have to follow to avoid breaking the law.

If you want to remove a hedgerow (or part of a hedgerow) you will need to apply to us in writing before you do so.  You should discuss your plans with us first.

We have 42 days to respond to your written notice to remove a hedgerow.  We can issue:

  • a hedgerow retention notice - if the hedge is ‘important’ and must be kept
  • a written notice giving permission to remove the hedgerow in the way proposed

However, if you don’t hear back from us within 42 days, you can proceed with the removal as proposed.

If you have received written permission from us, you have up to 2 years from the date the written notice was issued to remove the hedge.

We have the power to impose penalties if there is a breach of the Hedgerow Regulations.

You can appeal to the Secretary of State in writing within 28 days of our decision.

Further information is available here.

When you don’t need to apply to remove a hedgerow

You don’t need to tell us that you are removing a hedgerow if:

  • it’s less than 20 metres long (but not if it is part of a hedge which is 20 metres or longer and not if it is less than 20 metres long but meets another hedge at each end)
  • it’s in or borders a domestic dwelling
  • you are making a new opening to replace existing access to the land (but the existing access must be filled by planting a hedge within 8 months of making the new opening)
  • you are correctly managing the hedgerow by laying or coppicing
  • there is no other way of obtaining access to the land or the cost would be disproportionate
  • you create a temporary access point for emergency purposes
  • it’s needed for national defence purposes
  • it’s for carrying out work for which planning permission has been granted (but see the regulations for restrictions on this)
  • it’s required to fulfil a statutory plant or forest health order to eradicate or prevent disease or tree pests
  • it’s required to fulfil a statutory notice preventing interference with electric power lines and apparatus
  • it’s required to complete statutory drainage or flood defence works
  • new trunk roads or motorways are being built on the site

Please note: the fact that work is permitted by the regulations does not affect any other prohibition or restriction such as an Inclosure Act.