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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Our property comes with around 10 acres of land. One of the

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Our property comes with around 10 acres of land. One of the small paddocks borders a neighbours ex nursery site which is now being developed into a holiday complex.
The boundary hedge included a stock proof fence and an ancient wild hedgerow the hight of which provided a visual screen from the unsightly development .
A year or so ago my neighbour started to cut down the hedge. I met with him to discuss why -he said he was making it more effective as a hedge which is probably true,but I didn't need it for stock proofing. I agreed with him that I wanted the hedge to be allowed to grow back as a visual barrier and sent him a solicitors letter to confirm this.
However this winter he has again trimmed the hedge back.
I should add that we live in the countryside and the boundary is a good distance from any other property.
What can I do to ensure he does not cut it again?

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Whose land is the hedge on?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The hedge is on my land and this was thankfully not disputed. I only bought the land a couple of years ago and was told by the seller that the 'hedge' belonged to me.....and to watch the neighbour like a hawk!

This is your hedge and he is not entitled to cut any of it other than any branches which overhang the boundary. Even so, he is not entitled to keep the clippings!

If the hedge is over 2 m high can take you to court (the local authority will actually deal with it) to make you cut the hedge down to 2 m. Assuming that its under 2 m and that he hacks more than up to the boundary or any height at all then he commits criminal damage which is a police matter.

Even if the hedge is over 2 m and he cuts it down to 2 m he still commits a criminal offence of criminal damage. It is not compulsory to have a hedge no higher than 2 m but it can be made in the right circumstances to be cut down to 2 m but that is up to the court to order that subject to a person making the correct application.

Tell him that if he cuts the hedge again, it will be classed as criminal damage that you will refer the matter to the police. Put it in writing. That way, in future, if he cuts the hedge again, you can show criminal intent by virtue of the letter which he has ignored. You might also want to get a solicitor to write to him stating the same and also threatening a court application for an injunction to make him stop cutting the hedge if he will not agree to leave it alone. The letter from the solicitor can also say that if that action is necessary you will also make an application to the court for the substantial costs of applying for the injunction.

That should be the end of the matter if the neighbour has any sense.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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