Trees and high hedges

Removing a hedgerow

If you wish to remove a countryside hedgerow which is more than 20 metres long or which meets another hedgerow at either end, you will need to apply for a Hedgerow Removal Notice (link opens in new window).

Alternatively, please complete the printable form below and send it to:

Trees & Landscaping
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
Chicksands
Shefford
Bedfordshire
SG17 5TQ

Hedgerow removal guidance notes (PDF 26.9KB)

Hedgerow removal application form (PDF 531.1KB)

Hedgerow checklist (PDF 174.4KB)

There is no fee to make this application.

What happens next?

We will respond within 6 weeks by either:

  • approving the proposals
  • issuing a Hedgerow Retention Notice (if the hedgerow is found to be important)

The Hedgerow Regulations (1997) do not apply to garden hedges, even if the land on the other side of the hedgerow is used where the hedgerow marks the boundary line between agricultural and residential land, such as on the edge of town.

If you remove a hedgerow without permission, you may face an unlimited fine and you may have to replace the hedgerow.

You need permission if it is on:

  • land used for agriculture
  • common land
  • land used for forestry
  • land used for the breeding of horses, ponies, or donkeys
  • village greens
  • local nature reserves
  • sites of special scientific interest

You do not need permission if:

  • the hedge is shorter than 20 metres and not connected to other hedgerows
  • the hedgerow is within or makes up the boundary of your garden
  • you are removing it to obtain access in substitution for an existing one which provides access to the land
  • you are removing it to obtain temporary access to any land in order to give assistance in an emergency
  • you are removing it to obtain access to land where other means of access is not available or is available only at disproportionate cost
  • we have given permission for new development following the submission of a planning application (except in the case of permitted development rights)
  • 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 the work that you intend to carry out is considered as proper hedgerow management, and will not result in the destruction of the hedgerow (i.e. coppicing, laying, and the removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees)

It is also important to check that there are no covenants, planning permissions or conditions requiring the hedgerow to be retained.

Sources of further information

Statutory Instrument 1997 No.1160: The Hedgerow Regulations 1997 (Crown Copyright 1997) (link opens in new window)

DEFRA (link opens in new window)

For further information or advice on an application to remove a hedgerow, please contact a member of the council’s aboricultural staff.

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