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Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

Complaints procedure

Section 68: Procedure for dealing with complaints

138.Complaints must be made to the local authority whose area contains the land on which the hedge is situated. Complaints must also be accompanied by any fee set by the authority. The level of such a fee must not exceed the amount specified in regulations made under this section (subsection (7)).

139.The local authority may reject the complaint if they consider that the complainant has not taken all reasonable steps to resolve the matter without involving the authority, or if they consider that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious (subsection (2)). If the local authority decide, on this basis, not to proceed with the complaint, they must inform the complainant as soon as is reasonably practicable and must explain the reasons for their decision (subsections (5) and (6)).

140.Where the local authority proceed with the complaint, they must decide in the first place whether the height of the high hedge is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of his property. If so, the authority must then consider what, if any, action to require to be taken in relation to the hedge in order to remedy the adverse effect and to prevent it recurring (subsection (3)).

141.The authority must, as soon as is reasonably practicable, inform the parties of their decision and the reasons for it. If the authority decide that action should be taken, they must also issue a remedial notice (under section 69).

Section 69: Remedial Notices

142.The remedial notice must specify the hedge it relates to; what action is required to be taken in relation to the hedge in order to remedy the adverse effect and by when; what further action, if any, is required to prevent recurrence of the adverse effect; what date the notice takes effect; and the consequences of failure to comply with the requirements of the notice.

143.The action specified in a remedial notice may not involve reducing the height of the hedge below 2 metres, or its removal.

144.While the remedial notice is in force, there is an obligation on the local authority to register it as a local land charge. In addition, the notice is binding not only on whoever is the owner or occupier of the neighbouring land at the time it is issued but also on their successors.

Section 70: Withdrawal or relaxation of requirements of remedial notices

145.A local authority can withdraw a remedial notice or waive or relax its requirements. If they do so, they must notify the complainant and the owner/occupier of the neighbouring land.

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