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The Law on Hedges - how high is too high?

The Law on Hedges - how high is too high?

A recent Sheriff Court ruling has seen a landowner in Bridge of Weir ordered to cut back a garden hedge that was deemed to have grown beyond the bounds of the law.
This has served to highlight a recent piece of Scottish legislation: The High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013, which came into force in April 2014 with the aim of protecting property owners from the risk of having their light blocked by overgrown hedges on nearby land.

A “high hedge” is one which:

is made up of a row of two or more trees or shrubs of any kind (evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous trees or plants are all included)
is over 2m high and
forms a barrier to light to neighbouring property.
A hedge will not be regarded as forming a barrier to light if it has significant gaps. Single trees are not covered by the Act.

Where your neighbour’s hedge adversely affects the enjoyment of your property by blocking the light and you have tried and failed to reach an amicable solution it is possible to apply to the local authority for a High Hedge Notice.

The hedge owner will be notified of any application for a High Hedge Notice against their property and will then have the right to make any representations to the local authority within 28 days.

In making a decision whether to issue a High Hedge Notice the local authority will have regard to all circumstances including the effect of the hedge on the amenity of an area and any cultural or historic significance. Once notified of a decision both parties have a right of appeal to the Scottish Ministers.

Where a High Hedge Notice is issued it is binding on the owner and on subsequent owners. The local authority may enter onto the land to check compliance with the Notice.

For more information on please contact a member of our specialist Land & Rural Business team.

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