Hedges and Overgrowth

Information, guidance and responsibilities of landowners whose hedges and trees overhang public highways. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has a duty under the Highways Act 1980 to ensure that the highway is not obstructed. Even small overgrowths can be hazardous particularly to blind and visually impaired people who often use property boundaries as a guide, or when a footpath is narrow.

 

It is a requirement that anything overhanging must be at least:

  • 2.3m above the footway, cycleway or verge

  • 5.3m above the road surface

 

Overgrown hedges next to footpaths and roads pose a real hazard to people who are disabled or who are visually impaired and young children or other pedestrians who risk injury or damage to their faces or clothing from thorns and branches. If the pavement is narrow or the obstruction is excessive, they may be forced into the road. 

 

On junctions and bends overgrown hedges may obstruct sight lines and the clear view of motorists. They may also obscure traffic signs or streetlights, increasing the risk of accidents.

 

Landowner Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the property or land owner to ensure hedges are cut back sufficient amounts to ensure there is no overgrowth growing into the adopted footway or carriageway. 

 

It is also the property or land owners responsibility to ensure all clippings are removed following cutting.

 

Should the Vale of Glamorgan Council need to arrange for a third party contractor to remove any clippings following cutting, then the costs incurred by the Council will need to be recharged back to the property / land owner.


Please note: If cutting back private hedges would disturb wild birds, we may allow the owners to delay the work until the bird nesting season is over. This is because there are laws against disturbing wild bird nests.

Highway Inspections

Our highway inspectors regularly review roads by following a predetermined schedule (including road classification and route importance) and identify all types of defect and hazards, such as hedges and overgrowth.  This is to keep the highway safe. 

 

If necessary, letters to residents will be issued where overgrowth is discovered. In most cases once letters are received the owner will cut back the overgrowth.  However, If the overgrown tree or hedge is not cut back by the owner, we may as a last resort serve them with a notice to do the work under Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980.

Need Help?

Should you have difficulties arranging the cutting back of hedges or trees, please contact us explaining your circumstances and we may be able to arrange the work to be undertaken at a reasonable cost.