Hedges overhanging footpaths or highways can be a contentious issue.
Details of pertinent legislation governing hedges is provided below courtesey of NYCC Highways who can take action to cut hedges and then re-charge the cost to the hedge-owner.
HIGHWAYS ACT 1980
1) Where a hedge, tree or shrub overhangs a highway or any other road or footpath
to which the public has access so as to endanger or obstruct the passage of vehicles or
pedestrians, or obstructs or interferes with the view of drivers of vehicles or the light
from a public lamp, a competent authority may, by notice either to the owner of the
hedge, tree or shrub or to the occupier of the land on which it is growing, require him
within 14 days from the date of service of the notice so to lop or cut it as to remove
the cause of danger, obstruction or interference.
For the purpose of this section the following are competent authorities:-
a) in relation to a highway for which the Minister is the highway authority and which
is in a district of London borough, the Minister and also the council of the district or,
as the case may be, borough;
b) in relation to a highway for which a local highway authority are the highway
authority, that authority and also (outside Greater London) the council of the district in
which the highways is situated;
c) in relation to a road or footpath that is not a highway, the local authority in whose
area the road or footpath is situated;
and “hedge, tree or shrub” includes vegetation of any description.
2) Where it appears to be a competent authority for any highway, or any other road or
footpath to which the public has access:-
a) that any hedge, tree or shrub is dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted, and
b) that by reason of its condition it, or part of it, is likely to cause danger by falling on
the highways, road or footpath;
The authority may, by notice either to the owner of the hedge, tree or shrub or to the
occupier of the land on which it is situated, require him within 14 days from the date
of service of the notice so to cut or fell it as to remove the likelihood of danger.
3) A person aggrieved by a requirement under sub-section (1) or (2) above may
appeal to a magistrate’s court.
4) Subject to any order made on appeal, if a person on whom a notice is served under
sub-section (1) or (2) above fails to comply with it within the period specified in those
sub-sections, the authority who served the notice may carry out the work required by
the notice and recover the expenses reasonably incurred by them in so doing from the person in default.