High hedge bill endorsed by Holyrood committee

Hedge Confrontation between residents on overgrown vegetation has been dubbed "hedge rage".

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Plans to tackle disputes over high hedges have been endorsed by a Holyrood committee.

A bill lodged by SNP MSP Mark McDonald should promote "good neighbour" behaviour, according to the local government committee.

MSPs also agreed it would help solve disputes when all other avenues have failed.

The High Hedges (Scotland) Bill defines a high hedge at two metres, formed by a row or two of evergreens.

Scotland does not have specific legislation in this area, but similar laws have been adopted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the Isle of Man.

The High Hedges Bill was lodged by Mr McDonald at the Scottish Parliament in October, 10 years after action was first suggested by former Labour MSP Scott Barrie.

Campaigners have said that problems with overgrown vegetation can lead to confrontation between residents, which has been dubbed "hedge rage".

What does the bill do?

Defines a high hedge at two metres, formed by a row or two of evergreens.

Residents can complain to councils on the basis hedges on neighbouring land are considered to have an "adverse effect on the reasonable enjoyment of domestic property".

Councils aim to settle disputes and would get powers to issue enforcement notice to hedge owners, requiring them to take action.

Failure to comply would let the council go in and do the work, charging the costs to the hedge owner.

Kevin Stewart, convener of the local government committee, said: "Our committee heard first-hand the impact that disputes over high hedges can have in communities and on the lives of ordinary people up and down the country.

"This bill provides an accessible local solution to address these disputes where all other avenues have failed.

"We share the hope of those who gave evidence to our committee, that the mere existence of legislation will promote 'good neighbour' behaviour."

The bill proposes that councils act as mediators to settle disputes between neighbours and, if required, go in to cut back hedges. They would then charge the costs to an owner who failed to take action.

However, wildlife groups have raised concerns that the proposed law may lead to the removal of protected trees.

The bill would need to make it through two more stages of scrutiny at Holyrood, before becoming law.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I have appealed to my local council for about 10 years, to prune or remove an ornamental copper beech which completely shades my greenhouse and garden for most of the summer days. They totally ignore my requests for action by using the excuse that the land, which they themselves maintain , is owned by a housing association therefore it is not their problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    "we want to discuss serious political issues in Scotland and not be treated in such an insulting way."

    Not just insulting, but breaching the fairness requirement of the charter.

    Only Scotland not allowed to comment on political or businesss issues.

    Are they too scared to allow comment in case it disagrees with their political agenda?

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    The proposed procedures are long winded & bureaucratic, they offer little advantage over the current situation for those who suffer & can have their property made unsellable as a result of irresponsible hedge planting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Doesnt it give you a great feeling to know that our poiticians care so much about hedges while our society crumbles around us.....

    Havent these clowns got anything better to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Judging from the amount of comments here the BBC should get the message that we want to discuss serious political issues in Scotland and not be treated in such an insulting way. Looks like everyone is giving up even looking at the Scotland pages - is there a way of finding out the stats on the numbers reading the political blogs nowadays since we were stopped from commenting on them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Too little, too late!

    I put solar PV panels on my roof but now my neighbour's trees cast a shadow over them. This reduces output of electricity by up to 90% and costs me hundreds of pounds in lost generation but there is nothing in this proposal to tackle this problem. I also have to pay to have my neighbour's leylandii hedge trimmed because it blocks the view i bought this house for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Hedges ! Hedges I suppose some ealderly cardigan wearing person may find this important, but its sad that is that the limit of political conversation we are allowed to speak about in Scotland!

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Hedge Rage?

    Some people need to do some serious growing up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    It's a fat lot of good if you have a height limit of 2 or 3 metres (5-6 would be better) if some idiot then gets approval to build something 10 metres or more high which overshadows your property and destroys the view.Just another thought though - I'm OK with the 2-3 metre ruling if it applies to the sand berms built by Trump in the SSSI in Aberdeenshire.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I have some lovely big trees completely blocking any sun into my garden thus no grass can grow and no clothes can dry. Council response - they are protected trees which are native and in abundance in Scotland. I have offered to pay for trees to be cut and replace each one with 10 new ones else where. Still a no goer. I am hedging my bets that this is another pointless debate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Nice of the BBC to let us comment about hedges but not allowing us to comment on the political blogs in Scotland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Surely you can still have privacy with a 2m hedge? I'm more worried about bad planning decisions - I have no privacy at all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    7.X_Sticks - ".....The continued censorship applied only to Scotland must be in breach of the BBC Charter....."

    There's been regular HYSs on all things Scotland.

    BBC censorship? No, just paranoia on your part......

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.


    How about BBC Scotland removing the large hedge around Pathetic Quay and giving the people of Scotland a say on the business and political blogs like all the other countries in the "United" Kingdom.

    The continued censorship applied only to Scotland must be in breach of the BBC Charter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Following a wide consultation on this proposled legislation it was clear that there are many out there who plant hedges to annoy and cause hindrence. Such people seem to take delight in other people's misery. This proposed legislation is long overdue and in answer to comment 2. will actually have the potential to improve people's lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    And meanwhile in Britain the Govt is determined to ensure even more neighbourly rows by allowing folk to buils hideously over sized extensions with out planning persmission......

    ....watch out, you could soon have you natural light blocked by an utterly tstaeless Spainish hacienda tacked onto the back of next door.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    This parallels existing Antisocial Behaviour law in England, introduced by NL, giving LAs power to act..

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Fair enough, if there is a dispute between neighbours. Other hedges dividing properties should be allowed to grow on, however, particularly deciduous ones, because cutting them back at head height is extremely unsightly, and no good at all for most of the wildlife that passes through. That apart, what about rights of privacy? I don't fancy voyeurism as the next urban pastime, thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Astonishing really - poverty, deprivation, youth unemployment, recession and Holyrood devotes precious time to a bill on hedges. Perhaps when they get more powers, our MSPs can show their worth by actually improving people's lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Really, this is the headline News for Scotland?...or should i say Hedgline News.


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