Hedges can add a lot to a property and be a haven for wildlife but high hedges - those above 2 metres tall - could be causing a problem for your neighbour.
To help resolve what can often be a tricky issue between neighbours, the Northern Ireland High Hedges Act has been created.
The legislation is designed to help people who are affected by high hedges acting as a barrier to light to their domestic property
The Act specifically deals with evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges which are the most popular but also present the most problems
District Councils have a duty to enforce the legislation and Mid Ulster District Council will investigate any complaints that are brought under the Act.
Where you have a problem with a high hedge you will be expected to have tried to resolve the issue before a complaint can be made to the Council.
The Council will not negotiate between neighbours but will investigate a complaint and make a judgement as to whether the hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of his or her property.
The Council will only intervene if a complaint is made and even then, each case will be determined on its own merits. However it is hoped that the very existence of the legislation will encourage neighbours to work together to resolve their dispute, thus avoiding the need for the Council to get involved.
Hedges under 2 metres will not need to be cut down and permission is not needed to grow or retain a hedge along the boundary of your property.
If the Council decides that the complaint is justified, it will serve a notice on the hedge owner specifying what needs to be done to manage the hedge and the date by which this should be done.
It is an offence not to comply with the terms of a remedial notice. The penalty for non-compliance with a remedial notice will be a fine of up to £1,000 with the possibility of further fines for continued non-compliance.
To find out more contact our Environmental Health service on 03000 132 132