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Hedgerow regulations 1997

These regulations came into force to protect important hedgerows, in particular hedgerows which are more than 20 metres long or which meet another hedgerow at either end. It should be noted that garden hedges are not affected. 

Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 (SI no 1160):

  • It is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows (excluding those forming garden boundaries) without permission.
  • To get permission to remove a hedgerow, you must write to us.
  • If we decide to prohibit removal of an "important" hedgerow, we must let you know within 6 weeks.
  • If you remove a hedgerow without permission, whether it is important or not, you may be prosecuted, and you will probably have to replace the hedgerow.

You need permission to remove a hedgerow if it is on:

  • Agricultural land
  • Common land
  • Forestry land
  • Paddocks
  • Local Nature Reserve
  • Site of Special Scientific interest

You do not need permission under these regulations if:

  • It is in or borders your garden.
  • You are removing it to get access:-
    • either to replace an existing access with another one, (which should be replanted within 8 months of making the  new opening),
    • or where there is no other means of entry or only at a disproportionate cost
  • To gain temporary entry to help in an emergency
  • To comply with statutory plant or forestry health order
  • To comply with a statutory notice for preventing interference with electric lines
  • In connection with statutory drainage or flood defence work
  • To implement a planning permission (except in the case of permitted development rights)

BUT you must check that there are no covenants, planning permissions or conditions requiring the hedges to be retained.

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