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 60.

    Jim McColl of the Beechgrove Garden has stepped into the controversy surrounding the hedge-height referendum. Mr McColl has changed his stance and is now saying that voting YES in the forthcoming referendum, "was fast becoming the only option"

    Mr McColl aired his views in the influential magazine "Grow Your Own Pears & Plums"

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Silly little Scottish people bemoaning that they are hard done to yet again. GROW UP!

    I am Scottish and this attitude makes me sick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Politics is anything involving policy, so entirely valid for discussion. Unfortunately, if this is anything like the English bill then it will do nothing to end misery. Costs money to submit applications and requires a paper trail of having tried to resolve the issue ... no easy matter, and no fun to deal with, when hedge owner doesn't want to cooperate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Is it in preparation for planting a strip of leylandii on the border after Scottish independence?

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    The President of Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, Lauris Noblis, has complained that the presenter of BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden, Carole Baxter, has misconstrued and manipulated her advice on privet hedges. Ms Noblis stated, "My advice to Carole was about planting hedges and not digging them up"

    Ms Baxter refused to comment when questioned by Gardener's World reporters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Politics Scotland
    "Open for Debate"
    Europe - nope.
    Economy - nope.
    Referenda - nope.
    Nice big green garden hedges - YES
    Fluffy bunny rabbits? - If we are good
    Who in BBC Scotland actually decides what the children of this wee country are allowed to comment upon?
    Slainte Mhor
    PS - If this bill helps a few neighbours - great. But the ONLY topic worthy of debate in Scotland. C'mon ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    The NO hedge-height campaign leader of Beeches Together, Fagus Sylvatica-Darling, has said that if Scottish home-owners vote YES in the hedge-height referendum then a plague of powdery mildew will affect Scottish gardens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    24.X_Sticks - ".....So which bbc political deptartment do you work for. Censorship, pure and simple!"

    I don't - but your assumption reinforces the perception of your being paranoid.....

    31.cj8652 - "....the BBC does not appologise for allegedly "manipulating" the words of an Irish govt. minister."

    Why they should they apologise for somone alleging they've done something?

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    The BBC 'in' Scotland have decided hedges are an important topic.
    The BBC 'in' Scotland do not let the Scottish public have a say on anything of note.

    Anyone not happy?
    Tough, the BBC 'in' Scotland are not Accountable to anyone or any public body in Scotland. Like the UK. Neither Together, neither better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Pretty sad state of affairs when two neighbours can't sit down with a beer and sort out the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Is it true that if Scottish home-owners vote YES in the hedge-height referendum that Scottish gardeners will be banned from the Chelsea Flower Show.

    Should I "Call Kaye" on Radio Scotland and complain about this outrage?

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    This is the level of debate they intend for Holyrood should you vote no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Wow, comments allowed in the Scots part of the BBC... about hedges

    Click on the Wales part of the BBC
    Blogs are always enabled for Wales
    Blogs are always disabled for Scotland

    And just to keep things on topic or they'll erase my opinion like they do in China

    I love hedges
    Hedges are WONDERFUL
    They're so... green !
    ...and leafy !

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Run of the mill topic, is it worthy of discussion when there are larger topics that the bbc seeks to skirt round, or is it evade?

    It's now been two years since the block on discussing Scottish topics was implemented by the bcc, when will the embargo be lifted?

    Scots pay their licences too!


  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I find tiny hedges really annoying. Whats the point of them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    So we are allowed to comment on hedges legislation but not on the real politics affecting our country, a total disgrace, it smacks of the ban on tartan and kilts and in the same vain “ they don’t let us practice with real weapons so we practice with stones instead “ The last part might be Hollywood or may not be but it all amounts to the same thing, controlling the Scots and keeping us down

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    @38 Bullitjw

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

    I suggest you read a book on english spelling/grammar - you made SEVEN mistakes in that one simple sentence. Incredible! I rest my case on the intelligence of the SNP voter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    "37. minuend

    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."


    We get it - you are in denial regarding an independent Scotland having to apply for EU membership. You have no argument against this other than to deny the fact. Fine. Stop boring us!

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    What I want is to be able to comment on the important business and political news affecting Scotland. We can comment on proposed legislation affecting hedges but not on independence. We can't even comment on the political and business blogs. The BBC is failing Scotland.


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