A ‘High Hedges’ bill is welcomed by local MSPs

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LOCAL MSPs Nigel Don and Graeme Dey have pledged their support to a High Hedges (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill has been proposed by SNP MSP Mark McDonald to “make provision about hedges which interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of residential properties.”

The Act will apply on hedges which are formed mainly by a row of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs, which rise to a height of more than two metres above ground level and which form a barrier to light.

High Hedge notices will be submitted to the local authority when the applicant considers that the height of a hedge situated on land owned or occupied by another person adversely affects the enjoyment of their own property.

Mr Dey said: “High hedges and the associated disputes which they can potentially cause is an issue which has been of concern for a considerable period of time.

“I am very pleased that Mark McDonald has brought forward this proposed piece of legislation, and I am keen to see it follow its way through the parliamentary process.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people in Angus who have experienced this problem to contribute to the bill as it is consulted on and scrutinised by MSPs, and I would encourage anyone affected to submit evidence they feel is important to the Local Government and Regeneration Committee in Parliament, as the bill is pored over at the committee stages.”

Nigel Don went so far as to say that high hedges are a form of anti-social behaviour: “Cutting out the light to a neighbour’s garden and windows by letting hedges grow too tall is a form of anti social behaviour,” he said.

“It can lead to furious arguments, criminal behaviour and occasionally violence. More often it simply sours the relationship between neighbours and depresses the value of the overshadowed property.

“A 10 or 20-foot high fence between two neighbours’ gardens would never get planning permission, and I don’t see why a hedge of the same height should be seen as acceptable.”

Mr Don added: “I’m glad to say that most people show consideration for their neighbours, but I do get complaints to my constituency office about this problem and currently there is no effective legislation to deal with this.

“Writing legislation of this type is never easy and I know that my Parliamentary colleagues on the Local Government and Regeneration Committee would appreciate constructive comment from constituents who may be affected. Meantime I am delighted that Mark McDonald has managed to introduce this Bill.

“Others have been trying to do this since 2002. I’ll be giving him my strong support.”