Trees, Woodlands and Hedges

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: Who is responsible for damage caused by trees?

Answer: Every landowner is responsible for trees on land that they own.


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Question: How do I get a tree protected?

Answer: If you believe a tree is worthy of protection, please put your request in writing to the council using the 'Contact' tab above. Further advice is also available from the related link.
- Related Link

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Question: Can work be done to a protected tree?

Answer: If you wish to carry out work to a protected tree you will need to obtain consent from the council. There is no cost for the application and further information can be found at the related link.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I find out if a tree is protected or not?

Answer: To find out if a tree is protected, please search the address using the Online Proposals Map at the related link. - Related Link

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Question: How high can a hedge around my neighbour’s garden grow?

Answer: There is no legal fixed height for a hedge. If you believe your neighbour's hedge constitutes a nuisance then you may be able to complain to the council. There is a fee of £500 for submitting a high hedge complaint.

To download an application form and obtain more advice, visit the related link. - Related Link

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Question: Where can I get advice about my trees?

Answer: The council does not provide advice on tree care and management. If you need advice, you are advised to consult a tree specialist.


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Question: I want to do some work to a tree which is on somebody else’s land, what should I do?

Answer: If you want to do work to trees on somebody else's land you will need the permission of the landowner. If the trees are protected or in a Conservation Area, you will also need the consent of the council and further information on how to submit a tree works application can be found here.
- Related Link

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Question: How do I obtain consent to carry out work to protected tree(s) on my property?

Answer: You will need to submit a tree works application and further details on how to do this can be found at the related link.
- Related Link

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Question: Do I need consent to carry out work to trees in a Conservation Area?

Answer: You probably do as consent is normally required to carry out any work to any tree which is over 7.5cm in diameter at 1.5m above ground level in a Conservation Area. To identify whether the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, please search for the address on the Online Proposals Map at the related link.

If you are unsure whether or not you require permission, please email development@iow.gov.uk - Related Link

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Question: The roots/branches of a tree on my neighbour's property are damaging/overhanging my property, what can I do?

Answer: If you want to carry out works to overhanging trees, you should first establish whether the tree is protected which you can do by searching the address in the Online Proposals Map at the related link. If the tree is protected, you will need to submit a tree works application to the council before you undertake any work which can be found at www.iwight.com/trees You will also need to obtain the tree owner's consent before carrying out any works.
- Related Link

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Question: How can I obtain a copy of a Tree Preservation Order?

Answer: TPOs are available to view online at the related link. If you require a copy of a TPO, please email development@iow.gov.uk with the TPO reference number, e.g. TPO/1999/12. The cost is £12.64 (first class post) or £12.55 (second class post) and payment is required prior to the copy being sent to you. Please send a cheque made payable to "Isle of Wight Council" to the address in 'Contact' above or telephone 01983 823552 to make payment by credit or debit card. - Related Link

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Question: Do I need permission to remove my hedgerow, either in whole or in part?

Answer: Yes, if your hedgerow is on, or runs alongside:
• agricultural land
• common land, including town or village greens;
• land used for forestry or the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys; or
• a Local Nature Reserve or Site of Special Scientific Interest.

No, if it:
• is shorter than 20 metres (unless both ends join up with other hedgerow or it is part of a longer hedgerow); or
• is in, or borders, your garden.
• Gaps of 20 metres or less are counted as part of the hedgerow. A gap may be a break in the vegetation or it may be filled, by for example, a gate.

You also do not need permission to remove your hedgerow:
• to get access - either in place of an existing opening, provided that you plant a new stretch of hedgerow to fill the original entrance, or when another means of entry is not available, except at disproportionate cost. You are advised however, to contact the authority prior to undertaking this work;
• to gain temporary entry to help in an emergency; or
• to implement a planning permission (but in the case of permitted development rights, most hedgerow removal WILL require prior permission).

Normal management of your hedgerow does not require prior permission.

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Question: Does removing a hedgerow just mean grubbing it up?

Answer: No. Removal also includes other actions that result in the hedgerow being destroyed, but coppicing, laying and removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees are treated as normal management.

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Question: Who can seek permission to remove a hedgerow?

Answer: Only the landowner, agricultural tenant, farm business tenant or certain utilities, such as gas companies.

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Question: What happens after the authority have received the notice?

Answer: They visit the site to see if the hedgerow is 'important' and may enter your land. To be 'important' the hedgerow must (i) be at least 30 years old, and (ii) meet at least one of 8 set criteria that includes archaeological, historical, wildlife or landscape value.

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Question: What if the hedgerow is not 'important'?

Answer: The authority cannot refuse you permission to remove the hedgerow. They should write to say that the hedgerow can be removed. This permission does not override any requirements to notify or obtain consent under other legislation, or any contractual obligations.

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Question: What if the hedgerow is 'important'?

Answer: The authority will decide if the circumstances justify the removal of an important hedgerow. The strong presumption is that important hedgerows will be protected. Unless satisfied that removal is justified, the authority must refuse permission. They will issue a Hedgerow Retention Notice to say that removal of the hedgerow is prohibited.

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Question: What if I hear nothing from the authority?

Answer: You can remove the hedgerow, if you have not heard from the authority 6 weeks after they received your Hedgerow Removal Notice - unless you have agreed a longer timescale.

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Question: How long does a permission last?

Answer: 2 years from either the date of the authority's written permission or the ending of the 6 week period. The permission is for the work set out in your proposal, and no more. You must seek fresh permission for anything else.

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Question: Do I have to replace a hedgerow if I remove it without permission?

Answer: The authority could direct you to plant another hedgerow. They have legal powers to ensure this happens. The replacement hedgerow is automatically 'important' for 30 years after it has been planted.

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Question: How do I ask permission to remove a hedgerow?

Answer: You have to send the local planning authority a hedgerow removal notice. Please see the link provided. - Related Link

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Question: What if I remove a hedgerow without asking for permission?

Answer: It is a criminal offence, to deliberately remove a hedgerow without permission. If you are found guilty by a magistrates' court, you face a fine of up to £5,000. If tried in the crown court, the fine is unlimited.

Unless one of the following exceptions apply:
If it:
• is shorter than 20 metres (unless both ends join up with other hedgerow or it is part of a longer hedgerow); or
• is in, or borders, your garden.
• Gaps of 20 metres or less are counted as part of the hedgerow. A gap may be a break in the vegetation or it may be filled, by for example, a gate.

You also do not need permission to remove your hedgerow:
• to get access - either in place of an existing opening, provided that you plant a new stretch of hedgerow to fill the original entrance, or when another means of entry is not available, except at disproportionate cost. You are advised however, to contact the authority prior to undertaking this work;
• to gain temporary entry to help in an emergency; or
• to implement a planning permission (but in the case of permitted development rights, most hedgerow removal WILL require prior permission).

Normal management of your hedgerow does not require prior permission.


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Question: Trees or hedges are obstructing / blocking a public right of way, what do I do?

Answer: Please refer to the attached leaflet for guidance and who to contact. - Related Link

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