High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013: revised guidance

Revised version of the guidance for local authorities to the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013, approved by the Campaign for Plain English.

1: Introduction

This document provides guidance from the Scottish Government to local authorities on the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 [1] (the 'Act'). As set out in Section 31 of the Act, local authorities must consider this guidance when carrying out their duties under the Act and when issuing any guidance of their own on the Act [2] .

If neighbours have not been able to amicably settle a problem relating to high hedges, the Act aims to provide a solution by providing an effective method to settle the dispute. A high hedge is defined by the Act as a hedge that is formed mainly or fully by a row of two or more trees or shrubs, is over two metres high and blocks out light [3] .

This guidance is not a statement of the law, which is set out in the Act itself. It is meant to support the Act by providing extra advice to local authorities on meeting their obligations under the Act, and makes clear to everyone with an interest in this issue, including hedge owners and those affected by high hedges, how we expect the Act will work in practice.

The guidance needs to be fairly general as the effects of a hedge on a neighbouring property will vary from case to case. The main role the Act gives to local authorities is to act as an independent third party to consider the circumstances of each case to identify whether a high hedge is having a negative effect on neighbours' reasonable enjoyment of their house. The Act allows local authorities to issue their own guidance on the Act [4] , which is likely to be more specific about how that authority will carry out their duties under the Act. However, Section 31 of the Act states that local authorities must consider this guidance when issuing their own guidance on the Act.


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