Scotland politics

Holyrood committee to review 'hedge rage' legislation

a hedge Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Legislation defining a "high hedge" and allowing councils to step in to disputes over them was passed in 2013

MSPs are to review legislation aimed at addressing "hedge rage" disputes between neighbours.

Holyrood passed the High Hedges (Scotland) Act in 2013 in a bid to tackle rows over overgrown shrubbery.

The local government committee is to review how the law has operated in practice and whether it could be strengthened.

Convener Bob Doris said overgrown hedges could be "a serious nuisance".

The legislation was introduced following a members' bill by SNP MSP Mark McDonald, who said overgrown hedges could blight people's lives.

It came into force in 2014, defining a "high hedge" as a row of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs which rises to more than two metres above ground level and forms a barrier to light.

The law allows people to apply to their local authority for a "high hedge notice" if their neighbours' hedge "adversely affects the enjoyment" of their home to an unreasonable extent. Councils can step in to settle disputes, and can issue enforcement orders to hedge owners or even carry out work themselves.

Mr Doris said the committee wanted to examine how well the legislation has worked in the three years since it came into force.

He said: "While it can be a rare occurrence, overgrown hedges can be a serious nuisance - especially when they lead to disagreements or 'hedge rage' disputes between neighbours.

"What our committee wants to know is whether the Act is working in practice. We want to hear from those with experience in this area so that we can give a considered view to the wider parliament on whether or not the Act could be improved."

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