Overhanging vegetation

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

Report a problem online

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 that :

  • 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
  • provide a minimum of 2.4 metres (8ft) of clearance above the footpath
  • 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.

We manage the maintenance of off road cycle tracks and the clearance of vegetation along routes to allow their use by bicycles. These routes are normally away from main roads and travel across rural areas.

We maintain the vegetation within cycle routes during May and again in September to keep them clear.

We do not maintain public rights of way paths. You can report a problem on a right of way online.

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.

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.