Protected hedges and hedgerows
Protected hedges and hedgerows

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Protected hedges and hedgerows
  • What hedgerows are protected?
  • Protected hedgerows—length and location
  • Important hedgerows
  • What is required to do works to a protected hedgerow?
  • Permitted exceptions
  • Appeals against LPA decisions
  • Record keeping
  • Criminal liability
  • Enforcement

What hedgerows are protected?

Certain hedgerows are protected by the Hedgerows Regulations 1997, SI 1997/1160 (HR 1997), enacted under the Environment Act 1995.

Two levels of protection are afforded, as further explained below:

  1. a hedgerow which fulfils criteria relating to its length and location as set out in HR 1997, reg 3 cannot be removed unless the relevant local planning authority (LPA) has received written notice of the proposed works

  2. the LPA can only prevent the hedgerow from being removed if the hedgerow is also considered an important hedgerow for the purposes of HR 1997, reg 4

If a hedgerow is not protected under these Regulations, it may be protected if it comprises trees in a Conservation Area, or trees protected via a tree preservation order or if a felling licence is required. Such protections are outside the scope of this Practice Note, but for more information see Practice Note: Works to trees, tree preservation orders and trees in conservation areas.

Protected hedgerows—length and location

Under HR 1997, reg 3, to gain protection under the HR 1997 a hedgerow must:

  1. have a continuous length of, or exceeding, 20 m, or

  2. have a continuous length of less than 20 m and, at each end, meet (whether by intersection or junction) another hedgerow

For the purposes of ascertaining the length of any hedgerow, any gap resulting from a contravention of the

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