Homeowners in France warned about overgrown hedges

Overgrown hedges, trees and vegetation can cause public risks, with local Mairies able to intervene if needed

When did you last check your hedges? Homeowners in France are warned that any hedges or trees that impede on public roads or viewpoints may prompt the local Mairie to cut them down, at your own cost.

Residential rules in France state that any trees, hedges, or vegetation that are blocking roads or obstructing key viewpoints (e.g. around a corner) risk being found guilty of “damaging the public highway”.

The problem can become especially apparent during the summer, when areas can rapidly become overgrown.

Residents would be issued with several warning notices first.

In the case of no reply or non-cooperation, the local Mairie would then be forced to step in, and arrange pruning or removal of the offending greenery by a local firm - known in French as “élagage”.

The bill for the work would then be passed on the homeowner or landowner of the site in question.

In extreme situations, trees may even be cut down, although the ministry for the interior states that “this would only happen in case of imminent and serious danger [due to the overgrown tree]”.

Mairies can also issue a fine of up to €1,500 to residents who have tall trees or hedges located - without prior authorisation - within two metres of a public thoroughfare.

Similarly, if any hedges or trees go on to damage the public highway or pavements, or cause any danger to the public, the owner of said hedges can be forced to pay extra damages and interest to the local Mairie.

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