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High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 - Revised Guidance to Local Authorities 2016

Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMay 17, 2016


ISBN 978 1 78652 265 8 (web only publication)
PPDAS 70808

This document is also available in pdf format (459 KB)


Ministerial Foreword

1: Introduction

2: Applying for a high hedge notice
What should people do before applying for a high hedge notice?
Discussion with neighbour
Approaching the local authority
Applications where it is not clear who owns the land

Deciding whether an application is eligible
Dismissing an application
Withdrawing an application
The scope of the Act
- Local authority responsibility for dealing with applications
- Affected property
- Location of the hedge
- Crown land

Meaning of 'high hedge'
Line of two or more trees or shrubs
More than 2 metres above ground level
Barrier to light

Application fee
Setting fees
Refund of fees

3: High hedge notices
Inviting representations from hedge owners
Other interested parties

Site visits

Negative effect on the applicant's enjoyment of their house
Reasonable enjoyment of property
Other factors
- Ancient and long-established hedgerows
- Damage to plants
- Effect of gaps
- Farm hedges
- Obstruction of light: domestic premises
- Obstruction of light: gardens
- Obstruction of light: passive solar properties
- Overhanging branches
- Privacy
- Protected trees
- Shelter
- Veteran or notable trees
- Other factors that local authorities may take into account, where relevant

Recording the decision and reasons for it

Telling everyone involved about the decision
Uncommon cases
- Several applications, single hedge, one owner
- One applicant, single hedge, several owners
- One application, several hedges, one owner
- One application, several hedges, several owners

Change in the ownership of the neighbouring land
Local authority are the high hedge owner

4: High hedge notices
Contents of a high hedge notice
Description of the hedge
Date on which the notice will take effect
Initial action
Compliance period
Preventative action
How long a high hedge notice lasts for

Specifying the action in the notice
- Step 1: taking care of the problem
- Step 2: allowing for regrowth
- Step 3: ongoing maintenance

Safety and good practice

Varying or withdrawing a high hedge notice
- Change in circumstances
- Correcting errors
- The applicant and the owner or occupier agree a different solution
- Cases not covered by the Act

5: Meeting the conditions of a high hedge notice
What happens if an owner or occupier does not meet the conditions of a high hedge notice?
Informal action
Enforcing a high hedge notice
Entry to land
Criminal offence
Warrants authorising entry

Recovery the local authority's expenses
Notice of liability of expenses

Enforcement procedures
Keeping a record of the case

6: Appeals
Right of appeal

Types of appeal
- 1. Against a high hedge notice
- 2. If no high hedge notice issued
- 3. If a high hedge notice is withdrawn
- 4. If a high hedge notice is varied

How to appeal

People involved in an appeal

What happens to an appeal?

Data protection