Trees and vegetation

Overgrown vegetation

Trees or hedges on private land are the responsibility of the landowner or occupier. If you are unsure if you are the owner, check your property deeds or contact Land Registry.

Overgrown hedges

Many hedges grow on the edge of the highway and mark its boundary with private property. It is the responsibility of the adjacent landowner or occupier to properly maintain them and any trees or other vegetation the hedge contains.

Landowners and occupiers are required by law to trim any hedge next to the public highway where the growth is preventing the passage, or affecting the safety, of the highway user.

Check hedges on your land bordering the highway regularly and cut them back if they’re obstructing visibility or the passage of vehicles or pedestrians. Also check vegetation is not obscuring signs or streetlights.

The RSBP provides advice on the best time of year to carry out any trimming to avoid the nesting season.

Read our information for landowners before carrying out work on hedges adjacent to the highway.

Overgrown vegetation letter

We encourage owners and occupiers to cut hedges, and work closely with parish councils to identify occupiers who neglect this. If we identify an obstructive hedge or potentially dangerous tree on your land we will send a letter saying what work you need to carry out to make the vegetation safe as stated in The Highways Act 1980. If you don’t deal with the obstruction we may do the work and claim back the cost from you.