In common law, you have the right to prune back parts of a tree or hedge growing over the boundary into your property. This is subject to any legal restrictions being overcome first, such as the presence of a Tree Preservation Orders or trees in Conservation Areas, both of which require you to make an application for permission to work on the trees to the relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA).
You cannot compel the owner of the trees or hedge to carry out this work or pay for it; and as a general rule, you have no legal right to a view which has been obscured by your neighbour’s trees. In most situations the simple answer to this question is no.
If your neighbour owns an evergreen hedge close to your property you can make a formal complaint to your Local Planning Authority under the High Hedges legislation as set out in Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003.
There is usually a charge for this process. The LPA will consider the complaint using standard government guidance set out in a document called Hedge Height and Light Loss. If your complaint is successful the LPA will determine an Action Height to which the height of the hedge must be reduced.
If your neighbour’s tree or hedge is dangerous and is a hazard to your property then there is action that can usually be taken. In this situation you should contact an arboriculture consultant for further advice.
It is always better to settle a dispute about trees amicably and it’s always recommended that you try to resolve it by talking to your neighbours first to see what might be possible and acceptable you both.
For advice about your trees and hedges, contact Andrew on 01256 817369; 07771 883061 or email him at Andrew@primarytrreesurgeons.co.uk