Overhanging vegetation

Find out how we maintain vegetation and how you can help.

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If highway vegetation is overhanging your property, you have the right under UK law to cut it back to your property boundary. When cutting highway vegetation back make sure:

  • all health and safety precautions are used including adequate road signage (if required)
  • no damage is done to Kent Highway trees or vegetation that could make it unsafe or susceptible to disease
  • all cuttings are disposed of safely.

If you carry out any work and make vegetation unsafe, the owner may have a case against you for criminal damage.

We have an obligation to ensure private property owners cut back any hedges, vegetation or shrubs that encroach onto the highway. We require private property owners to:

  • cut back any vegetation from streetlights to allow the full beam of light to shine onto the ground
  • ensure the full width of the footpath is available for use by pedestrians
  • ensure the full width of the cycle route is available for use by cyclists
  • provide a minimum of 2.4 metres (8ft) of clearance above the footpath or cycle route
  • provide a minimum of 5.2 metres (17ft) of clearance above the carriageway which continues 50cm past the edge of the carriageway to allow for growth.

If you receive a letter from us asking you to trim back your vegetation, you do not need to contact us to let us know you have done it.  We will check the progress of the work next time we are in the area.

Always make sure you can carry out any maintenance safely, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

Buses are an important part of Kent’s transport network. Under the Highways Act, property owners have a responsibility to keep vegetation on their property under control, to ensure safe passageway for buses and other vehicles.

Bus routes - video transcript

Read our guidance on our requirements when cutting back vegetation on bus routes (PDF, 1.7 MB).

If your vegetation is overhanging the highway and causing an issue please cut this back and adhere to health and safety standards.