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High Hedges

If you feel that a neighbour's hedge is affecting you by blocking your light you can apply to the council to serve a High Hedge Notice on the owner of the hedge. The fee for this is £401, which you must pay when you make the application.

For the council to consider serving a notice, the hedge must:

     a)   be formed wholly or mainly by a row of two or more trees or shrubs,

     b)   rise to more than two metres above ground level, and

     c)   be a barrier to light.

Before you make an application

Before you make an application for a High Hedge Notice, you need to be able to demonstrate to the council that you have made efforts to resolve the situation amicably, by contacting your neighbour and asking for the hedge to be reduced in height. As well as any other efforts you've made, you must send a letter to the owner of the hedge at least seven days before you make the application, informing them that you intend to make an application for a Notice.

This is to give both parties a final opportunity to come to an agreement about the height of the hedge as an alternative to taking formal action. We have prepared a standard letter [23KB] which you can use, or you can make up your own letter. Whichever you use, you must keep a copy of it and send it to us with the application form.

Completing the application

The application form can be filled in and and emailed to us at or printed and sent to us at:

Development Management, West Lothian Council, West Lothian Civic Centre, Howden South Road, Livingston, EH54 6FF


Application Fee

Type of DevelopmentFee payable
High Hedge Notice£401

What happens when an application is received

When we receive an application for a High Hedge Notice we will carry out a daylight/sunlight assessment and a habitat assessment, and we will also assess the health of the hedge.

The council's decision can be:

     a)  take no action; or

     b)  serve a notice requiring immediate action (to reduce the hedge's height to two metres or remove it completely); or

     c)  serve a notice requiring long term maintenance of the hedge.

Steps b) and c) will normally be combined: we can require the hedge to be reduced to 2 metres in height (for example) and then maintained at no higher than 2.5 metres. This allows natural growth of the hedge while controlling its height.

Both the owner of the hedge and the person who has requested a notice have the right of appeal, to the Government's Directorate of Planning and Environmental appeals if they're unhappy with the council's decision.

If you have any queries about the legislation please contact us at