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Hedgerow protection and management

Hedgerow management

Hedgerows are an important part of the landscape of the Cotswolds as well as providing a useful wildlife habitat. It is vital that they are well managed.   

For further information about hedgerow management:

Hedgerow protection - the Hedgerow Regulations

The aim of the Hedgerow Regulations 1997 is to protect hedgerows for their historical, natural and cultural importance. It is against the law to remove most hedgerows without permission. Removal includes uprooting or otherwise destroying a hedgerow. Serious damage to the root system or over-maintenance resulting in the death of the hedgerow counts as removal.

The Regulations only cover hedgerows that are at least 20m long or, if shorter, connected to other hedgerows at both ends or part of a longer hedgerow.

There are a number of exceptions including garden hedges, essential work carried out by the utilities and emergency access. Proper maintenance including measures such as coppicing, severe pruning and laying is allowed without specific permission.

If you wish to remove a hedgerow, you must complete an application:

Make a Hedgerow Regs application

We have 42 days to determine whether or not the hedgerow is important under the Hedgerow Regulations, and whether or not to issue a hedgerow retention notice. To qualify as important, a hedgerow must be at least 30 years old and meet at least one of the other criteria set out in the Regulations. 

  • If the hedgerow is not important, we cannot refuse permission to remove the hedge.
  • If the hedgerow is important, it can be protected by serving a hedgerow retention notice, however we do not have to issue a notice if we are satisfied that circumstances justify the hedge's removal.

If a hedge is removed without permission, whether important or not, the land owner may face an unlimited fine and have to replace the hedge.