UK Gardeners Warned About Common Mistake That Could Result In £20k Fine

With spring around the corner, you might be preparing to do some DIY, but make sure you're up to date on guidelines and regulations first.

The time is finally here. You need to get started on the gardening DIY tasks that you promised yourself you’d do once spring arrived. Spring has indeed sprung and you are all out of excuses, I’m afraid.

However, just before you tuck into the seemingly endless to-do list for your garden, it may be worth noting that there are certain rules and regulations around seemingly innocuous gardening tasks that could leave you with up to a £20k fine.

Probably not worth it, eh?

The fines you could face for gardening DIY

Pruning or removing a tree could get you a fine of up to £20,000

According to InYourArea, if a tree is within your property, chances are that you can do whatever you like with it. However, if you share the tree with a neighbour and haven’t asked for their permission to make changes, it could lead to disputes.

Additionally, some trees may be protected by a tree protection order (TPO) which makes it an “offence to uproot, top or destroy them” and the “maximum fine for breaking this law is £20,000”. There are also strict rules protecting trees within conservation areas, so make sure to double-check.

Feeding birds can lead to fines of £5,000

While there’s nothing wrong with feeding birds in the garden (and in fact, it’s quite pleasant), bird feed that isn’t stored properly can attract rats which become a problem for the whole neighbourhood.

If rodents become a problem, households could be issued with an “abatement notice” asking them to stop putting out bird feed. If they don’t stop, they could get a maximum “fine of £5,000 or a community protection notice”.

Having an incorrect hedge height can get you a fine of up to £1,000

Angela Slater, Gardening Expert at Hayes Garden World discussed hedge and fence heights with HuffPost UK back in July. She said: “The standard hedge and fence height that gives you enough privacy is usually a maximum of two metres.”

Anything above this can be a nuisance for your neighbours and block sunlight into their garden or even cause safety concerns.

If you’re looking to erect a fence or hedge, both you and you neighbour need to agree to it so make sure that you notify them of your plans.

If they’re not happy with your plans, your neighbours might apply for a High Hedge Notice, giving the council the power to reduce or remove the hedge. Refusing entry for removal could result in a fine of up to £1,000.

Slater added: “If you’re looking to erect a fence over 2 metres tall, or 1 metre tall if it is adjacent to a road used by vehicles, you will need to seek planning permission.”