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The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 mean that it is against the law to remove most hedges without permission. Removal is uprooting or otherwise destroying a hedgerow. There are a few exceptions. These include essential work by the utilities and emergency access.

Proper maintenance, including coppicing, severe pruning and ‘laying’ are allowed without specific permission.

The regulations only cover hedgerows that are:

  • at least 20 metres long or that are connected to other hedgerows at both ends, or are part of a longer hedgerow
  • in or adjacent to common land, village greens, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Local Nature Reserve or land used for agriculture, forestry or breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys

Trees within a hedgerow are considered to be a part of the hedge and are therefore subject to the restrictions of these regulations.

Individual trees and groups of trees may also be protected by a tree preservation order or by being within a conservation area. You can find out more about tree preservation orders and check the status of a tree on our tree preservation order pages

How to apply for permission

If you wish to remove all or part of a hedgerow you need to make an application.