|Hedge wars - time to call a halt on neighbour disputes|
A garden hedge can look harmless enough - but hedge rage has driven
some people to kill.
Disputes over them are more common than you'd think.
So how does a hedge spark up so much hatred? Inside Out investigates.
There's one big issue that's getting people steamed up in Lincolnshire
- hedges or leylandii to be precise.
They may look ordinary enough, but
it's amazing what can happen when people fall out over hedges.
East Midlands has been home to some of the worst cases of hedge rage in the UK.
shooting of George Wilson and the subsequent suicide of his killer Robert Dickenson
is one of the worst examples of a hedge feud in the Britain.
two men aren't the only casualties in Lincolnshire's hedge wars.
a quiet street in a quiet town, an elderly man became another hedge rage victim.
Reed collapsed with a heart complaint outside his house. Onlookers had seen trouble
An inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death. So what on
earth is going on?
Michael Jones knows all about
it. For nearly 20 years, a battle line was drawn up at the bottom of his garden.
hedge became the most famous in the country.
|A question of size - high hedges often lead to neighbour
Over the years, he fought his neighbour every way
he could, from TV programmes to lobbying MPs.
His high hedge battle never
became violent - but he knows how things could get out of control.
now becoming a familiar story in many villages.
In Caythorpe, a villager
was charged with trying to kill his neighbour's tree.
There'd been a long
dispute over a super-sized conifer.
And David Jollons didn't like his neighbour's
He was taken to court, and spent a day behind bars.
1 June 2005, people are able to take their complaint about a neighbour's evergreen
hedge to their local council.
Complainant must try to resolve matter privately
The role of the local authority is to adjudicate on whether the hedge
is adversely affecting the complainant's reasonable enjoyment of their property.
The local authority must take account of all relevant factors and must
strike a balance between the competing interests of the complainant, the hedge
owner, and the interests of the wider community.
A council can order the
hedge to be cut to two metres. Failure to comply could mean a fine of £1,000.
The local authority cannot require the hedge to be removed.
So what's the answer?
If you're battling high hedges, a new
law may be able to help.
Michael Hill is one of the first people trying
to use the High Hedges Act against his neighbour.
Mike and his wife hope
this law will end a hedge dispute which started way back in the 1980s.
the High Hedges Act was put into place scores of people have contacted their local
council for help.
And while it's clear they can't intervene in every dispute,
this mediation may help stop any more tree tragedies like the ones that have recently
So let's hope that there's no more tragedies in Lincolnshire
- or anywhere else.
And just remember - it's only a hedge.
relating to this story:
BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites