Vegetation overhanging footpaths and roads

Overhanging trees, hedges and other vegetation can be a real nuisance to pedestrians and drivers, causing safety or accessibility issues.

We need to make sure our footpaths and roads are safe and can be easily used by everyone, including kids on scooters, the sight-impaired, those with disabilities and, of course, the postie.

What are the rules?

The Local Government Act 1974 places the responsibility of clearing offending vegetation on the owner of the property fronting the road. Trees and vegetation on private property must be kept clear of footpaths and roads as follows:

  • If the footpath is directly adjacent to a private property boundary, all vegetation should be trimmed back to the boundary (including hedges) so the entire footpath width is clear of vegetation (see diagram). In all other locations, the entire footpath width should be clear of vegetation.
  • A clear space of 2.5m above the footpath, berm or walkway is required.
  • A clear space of 4.5m above the road to allow truck or bus clearance is required.
  • Where there is only a grass berm, clearance of overhanging vegetation is still required to allow safe access for users.


Overhanging vegetation.

Managing vegetation overhanging a footpath or road

Overhanging vegetation is identified through public complaints to NPDC or routine inspection by Council officers. An official notice to trim the vegetation within a certain time period will be sent to the property owner. A reinspection will determine if the work has been completed.

Where work hasn’t been completed, a Council contractor will do the work and the property owner will be charged for it, along with an administration fee. The quality of this cutting will be adequate to clear the footpath or roadway as required.

Overhanging vegetation.

Laying a complaint about overhanging vegetation

If you notice trees or vegetation are affecting your safe use of footpaths or roads, please contact NPDC on 06 759 6060 or We will assess the site and undertake action as necessary.

Any overhanging vegetation onto your property from a neighbour’s property is a civil matter and needs to be resolved between the parties concerned. NPDC will not get involved in this type of matter. You can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance or seek legal advice.