MSP Mark McDonald makes bid to tackle 'hedge rage'

Image caption Neighbourly disputes over high hedges have long been a hot topic

Plans to create new laws to tackle the thorny issue of neighbourly disputes over high hedges have been announced.

SNP MSP Mark McDonald is to bring a backbench bill to Holyrood with the support of the Scottish government.

Disputes over the size of Leylandii and other shrubs have often led to confrontation between residents, which has been dubbed "hedge rage".

The proposed measures may include hedge height restrictions or improvements to mediation to resolve disputes.

Former Labour MSP Scott Barrie previously made an attempt at a bill to deal with high hedges in 2002.

Mr McDonald, who has been in discussion with the Scottish government over his legislation, said: "I am pleased to be taking forward the issue of high hedges as a members bill.

"Having dealt with issues of high hedges and nuisance vegetation previously as a local councillor, I was keen to pursue this issue upon my election to parliament.

"High hedges are clearly an issue of importance to many people, as shown by the response to the 2009 government consultation on 'High Hedges and Other Nuisance Vegetation' and there is an appetite for legislation."

Roseanna Cunningham, the minister for community safety and legal affairs, said high hedge disputes were rare - but could spiral out of control.

"The responses gathered through our consultation emphasised the keen interest in this issue around Scotland and we remain committed to seeing legislation put in place that will ensure everyone with an interest in the issue knows their rights, responsibilities and remedies," she said.

"We will support Mark McDonald as he leads a bill through the process of scrutiny before parliament and look forward to working with him constructively on this important issue."

Problems with high hedges have long been been an issue dominating polticians' constituency mail bags, with a number of cases in recent years ending in the courts.

Leylandii - often used as wind-breaks, sight screens and to mark out property boundaries - can grow to a height of 30 metres.

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