Trees and Shrubs Obstructing Footpaths or Highways

Residents are reminded to check and cut back any garden hedges, trees, or other vegetation that overhangs or otherwise obstructs roads, pavements, or footpaths.

It is worth noting that property owners are legally obliged to ensure that their garden vegetation is kept trimmed so that it does not obstruct the passage of pedestrians or vehicles, or interfere with the view of drivers of vehicles.

We do receive complaints about garden vegetation obstructing pathways and sightlines from time to time.  In these circumstances, we have the right to report this to Kent County Council, who have the power to serve a legal notice requiring the owner to cut back the offending vegetation within 14 days.  KCC’s interpretation is very strict, requiring that the full width of any adjacent footpath is available for use by pedestrians, that there is a minimum of 2.4 metres (8ft) clearance above any footpaths, and that there is a minimum of 5.2 metres (17ft) clearance above any roadways where trees overhang.

However, in most cases we write a polite note to the property occupier in the first instance, asking them to trim back their vegetation so that we do not have to report it to KCC.

We don’t want to have to write to you, so if your property has hedges, bushes, or trees adjacent to a footpath, pavement, or roadway, please ensure that they are kept trimmed back so that they do not cause any obstruction.