The High Hedges (Scotland) Act comes into force on 1st April 2014 for?those who are fed up with their neighbour?s overgrown privet blocking their sunlight:
Under the High Hedges Bill, individuals will be able to approach their local authority for assistance if they are unable to come to an amicable solution with their neighbour, in circumstances where they feel that a ?high hedge? on neighbouring land is adversely affecting the reasonable enjoyment of their property.
The definition of a ?high hedge? includes a hedge that:
? ? ? ? ? ??Is formed wholly or mainly by a row of 2 or more trees or shrubs;
??????????? Rises to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level; and
??????????? Forms a barrier to light?.
An application may be made to a local authority for a High Hedge Notice in respect of a high hedge where it adversely affects an individual?s enjoyment of their property, i.e. by reducing the amount of sunlight it receives. However, before an application can be made the individual must have taken all reasonable steps to try to resolve the issue with the owner of the hedge.
Under the High Hedges Act a local authority may, upon consideration of the case, require the dissenting neighbour to cut their hedge to an acceptable level.
If the hedge owner ignores this Notice or fails to carry out the required work within the time specified in the Notice, the local authority has the power to cut the hedge and re-charge the owner of the hedge for the cost of the work.
Either owner can lodge an appeal should they disagree with the decision given by the local authority however there are strict timeframes for lodging these appeals. The High Hedges Act makes it an offence for the hedge owner to prevent access to the local authority should they require to carry out necessary works which is punishable by a fine of up to ?1,000.
If you require any further guidance on the Act our property team would be delighted to help.