Under the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 (SI No. 1160) it is against the law to remove most countryside hedgerows without permission. To get permission you must send a hedgerow removal notice to the Council's Trees and Landscape Team. If the Council prohibit removal of an important hedgerow, it must let you know within 6 weeks. If you remove a hedgerow without permission you may face an unlimited fine and may have to replace the hedgerow.
You are advised that the information contained on this page is simply a brief summary of the Regulations for information purposes. In all circumstances you should contact Sedgemoor District Council's Trees and Landscape Team for further information prior to undertaking any works.
The list below is a simplified version of the criteria against which a hedgerow is assessed as being 'important'. For more detailed advice please contact us.
(a) A bank or wall supporting the hedgerow
(b) Less than 10% gaps
(c) On average, at least one tree per 50 metres
(d) At least 3 species from a list of 57 woodland plants
(e) A ditch
(f) A number of connections with other hedgerows, ponds or woodland
(g) A parallel hedge within 15 metres
Yes, if your hedgerow is on or runs alongside:
No, if it:
You also do not need permission to remove your hedgerows:
Application forms are simple to complete and there is no charge made by Sedgemoor District Council to process an application. The application forms and guidance notes are in the green links box below, but please contact our Landscape Officer if you want any further information or to clarify any aspects you are concerned about.
To view decisions made in respect of hedgerow removal notifications please visit Planning Online.
Please use our Interactive Mapping Online Tool to produce a location plan and indicate the position of the hedgerow requiring works.
No. Removal also includes other actions that result in the hedgerow being destroyed, but coppicing, laying and the removal of dead or diseased shrubs or trees are treated as normal management.
Only the landowner, agricultural tenant, farm business tenant or certain utilities, such as gas companies.
You need to send Sedgemoor District Council a hedgerow removal notice. There is no application fee. The relevant forms are available below.
The Landscape Officer will visit the site to assess whether the hedgerow is "important" and may enter your land. To be "important" the hedgerow must: a) Be at least 30 years old, and b) Meet at least one of the criteria listed in the "important" criteria. This criteria identifies hedgerows of particular archaeological, historical, wildlife or landscape value. Sedgemoor District Council will also consult the local Parish Council on the matter.
Sedgemoor District Council cannot refuse you permission to remove the hedgerow, and should inform you in writing that the hedgerow can be removed. However this permission does not override the need to notify or obtain consent under other legislation, or any contractual obligations.
Sedgemoor District Council will decide if the circumstances justify removal of an important hedgerow. The strong presumption is that important hedgerows will be protected. Unless satisfied that removal is justified, the Council must refuse permission and issue a hedgerow retention notice.
If you have not heard 6 weeks after Sedgemoor District Council received your hedgerow removal notice, you can remove the hedgerow. This is unless you have agreed a longer timescale with the Council.
2 years from either the date of Sedgemoor District Council's written permission or the ending of the 6 week period. The permission is for work set out in your proposal only.
It is permanent. But if circumstances change you may submit a fresh removal notice.
You can appeal to the Secretary of State in writing within 28 days of being given the Council's decision.
It is a criminal offence to deliberately remove a hedgerow without permission (unless permission is not required). If found guilty by a magistrates' court you could face a fine of up to £5,000. If tried in the crown court, the fine is unlimited.
Sedgemoor District Council may say that you have to plant another hedgerow and have legal powers to ensure that this is done. The replacement hedgerow is automatically 'important' for 30 years after it has been planted.
The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers may be able to help with practical restoration. Free initial advice is available from ADAS and FWAG, who can advise on grants and the management of hedgerows.