Hedgerow removal

Hedgerows are valued as wildlife habitats as well as landscape features. The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 protect most countryside hedgerows.

For guidance on hedgerow management and planting, take a look at Natural England's website.

Do I need permission to remove a hedgerow? 

Under the regulations you need to notify us if you wish to remove (uproot or destroy) a hedgerow that:

Grows in, or adjacent to any common land, local nature reserve, site of special scientific interest or land used for agriculture, forestry, or the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys and 
Has a continuous length of at least 20 metres, or if less than 20 metres meets another hedgerow at each end
Coppicing, layering and the removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees are treated as normal management.

The regulations do not apply to any hedgerow within the curtilage of, or marking a boundary of the curtilage of a house.

How do I apply to remove a hedgerow?

To get permission to remove a hedgerow you need to apply for a hedgerow removal notice. You will need to state the hedgerow's:

  • Age
  • Type
  • Location
  • Reason it needs removing 

For further details, see the guidance on completing a hedgerow removal notice.

How long does it take for a hedgerow removal decision? 

Once a notice has been served, we have six weeks to decide if a hedgerow is important and should stay.

There's a strong presumption that important hedgerows will be protected. To be important the hedgerow must be at least 30 years old and meet at least one of eight criteria specified in the regulations.

There are a number of exclusions to the need to obtain permission. For further advice, please contact us.

How long does the permission to remove a hedgerow last? 

Permission to remove a hedgerow lasts for two years from the date of our written permission, or from the end of the six-week period.

A hedgerow retention notice is permanent, but you can submit a new hedgerow removal notice if circumstances change.

Can I appeal against a hedgerow removal decision? 

Yes, you can appeal within 28 days of receiving our decision to:

Environment Appeals Team
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 4/04 Kite Wing
2 The Square
Temple Quay House

Telephone: 0117 372 8192

For further information visit the hedgerow retention and replacement page of the Planning Portal website.

What happens if I remove a hedgerow without getting permission? 

Hedgerow removal without permission is a criminal offence and you could face a fine in either the magistrate's or crown court. You could also be required to replant the hedge and it will then be automatically deemed as important for 30 years after being planted.

How do I view the statutory register of hedgerow notices? 

You can view hedgerow notices held in the statutory register at Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6ND.

How does hedgerow removal affect planning applications? 

We'll normally look to keep hedgerows on development sites unless there are exceptional circumstances for removal.

If you wish to remove a hedgerow as part of a development, you should list compensation proposals for the loss of the hedgerow with the planning application.

When should I cut a hedgerow?

Ideally, you should cut a hedgerow in January or February. This is because:

  • wildlife will have the opportunity to take advantage of the nuts and berries produced in the autumn
  • you should avoid cutting the hedgerow in the bird-breeding season from 1 March to 31 August. All wild birds, their young, their eggs and active nests are protected under law. It is an offence to damage a nest intentionally while it is in use or being built. Hedge cutting is highly likely to damage nests or cause them to be deserted

Find out more about reporting tree issues.