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
    +5

    Comment number 40.

    I know that high hedges can be the source of much argument between neighbours and the issue is certainly a real one. But it's hardly at the top of the Scottish political agenda at the moment is it. The fact that we are being allowed to comment on this issue really says it all about the BBC's attitude to Scotland, Scottish politics and the aspirations of many in Scotland for their country.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 39.

    Good to see Scotland preparing for independent Government by tackling the big issues of the day....or has the currently hegemony had an adverse affect on them?

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 38.

    @39 go read a book on politics and economics cefore writting nonsens on a public forum

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 37.

    I hear that the Coalition and the Labour party are promising smaller hedges but only if Scottish home owners say "NO" in the forthcoming hedge height referendum.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 36.

    That's great - it's nice to know when the SNP government has finished destroying my country that I won't be arguing with my neighbour about a hedge! Shame there won't be any hedges left since they will all have been cut down for firewood when we can't afford to pay heating bills and the infrastructure has gone to pot. Anyone voting for these clowns must be a bit simple.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 35.

    Is it true that BBC Scotland reporters have taken a hedge trimmer to comments from Irish Environment ministers in order to mislead Beechgrove Garden viewers on the EU entry requirements for heights of hedges.

    Surely BBC Scotland doesn't want to be mowed down with complaints.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 34.

    About time too. Good for the MSP's. It's time these high hedges were tackled. And no - I am being serious.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 33.

    Has John Boothman, BBC Scotland head of News and Current Affairs, apologised to the Irish Environment minister for reporting falsely that Irish hedges are higher than Scottish ones, and that it would be too complex and take a lot of time for Scottish hedges to reach the heights of Irish privet.

    BBC Scotland should not be misconstruing the words of Irish ministers, should they now?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 32.

    And when HS3 reaches Glasgow/Endinburgh and HS4 gets to Inverness, I'm guessing many Scots will be begging to be allowed high hedges to block out the rail noise and the view of those lovely overhead cables.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 31.

    I'll "hedge" my bets the BBC does not appologise for allegedly "manipulating" the words of an Irish govt. minister.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 30.

    28.Drunken Hobo
    Excuse my paranoia, but opening a HYS on this subject just seems like a ploy to get people to say "Is this what the Scottish govenment considers imporant? Why don't they concentrate on real issues!"

    .. We are not fooled - this is what the BBC wants us to discuss not the Scottish Govt. By the way its easy to scoff but this topic is something that can make life a misery.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 29.

    I suspect that the hedges will be discussed/debated at Hollyrood, but the larger issue on polititioans minds today will be the clarification from L. Creighton Irish European Minister, stating claims that her words were not reported accurately, saying: "I regret that my words seem to have been spun or taken out of context." BBC "misrepresentation" at its best!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 28.

    Excuse my paranoia, but opening a HYS on this subject just seems like a ploy to get people to say "Is this what the Scottish govenment considers imporant? Why don't they concentrate on real issues!"

    Hopefully this doesn't affect Brechin City, seems everyone is out to get their hedge.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 27.

    They'll be dancing in the streets of Raith ? , about this .

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 26.

    It's not just a hedge issue but should be extended to have clear process in place for unruly neighbours of all kinds. And dont say there is anti-social legislation in already, anyone that has had a problem with neighbours will know that no-one will help when you need it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    Apparently Section 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003) applies to hedges. Why can't this act be used rather than spending our (tax payers) money debating the issue?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 24.

    8.Little_Old_Me

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

    So which bbc political deptartment do you work for.

    Censorship, pure and simple!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    16.brora
    7 Minutes ago
    Judging from the amount of comments here the BBC

    Here here brora.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 22.

    Surely this can't be the most important thing on our politicians minds ! Can't we "undevolve" this power ??

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 21.

    nice to see our Westminster money is being so well spent...

 

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