Monthly Archives: October 2012

If you allow neighbour’s hedge to grow over your land can they claim it?

Some odd search engine terms bring people to this blog – this question is one of today’s.

I’m not a lawyer, so take that as a legal disclaimer for the following – but my answer would be that the boundary of a property is not materially affected by hedges – a hedge need not mark an exact boundary in any case (this is part of the judge’s definition of a hedge in the landmark case Stanton vs Jones). Boundaries are marked fairly clearly on the deeds to a house.

There are situations in which the shifting of a boundary marker such as a fence or wall might in the long run affect the exact location of a boundary if a judge concluded that long usage had established a new boundary but the law is very much geared to respecting the original boundary, to the point that it is possible to get a judgment that incorrectly positioned walls and fences must be demolished. But the growth of a hedge is different to moving a wall or fence because it is a natural process and doesn’t actually shift the location of the hedge to any specific degree (assuming it is growing out in both directions). Also, unlike a fence or wall, you have an immediate remedy open to you if your neighbour’s fence is expanding  – you can trim overhanging growth on your side of the hedge (though not to cut the hedge down from the top) – you have the right to trim it back to your property line if you can do
it without killing the plant.

Note that there is a minor legal quirk here – technically the hedge trimmings belong to the neighbour and should be offered back to them before being disposed of. It’s highly unlikely they would want them, but it never does any harm to talk about these things before taking action to avoid any conflict.

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Hedge Britannia nominated for Inspirational Book of the Year

Hedge Britannia has been nominated for Inspirational Book of the Year at the Garden Media Awards,  which is nice as it means I get to go to a posh lunch where they do the awards.

Will need to start practising my “not disappointed, really pleased the other book won” expression.

There’s more information about the prize here.

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Pothole gardens

This is Steve Wheen’s blog, with some nice pictures of the miniature gardens he has planted in potholes.

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High Hedges legislation for Scotland

Scotland is finally bringing in some legislation on high hedges – on the whole this is a good thing. The legislation in England and Wales hasn’t been perfect – a lot of people are put off by the charges, which vary wildly around the country. Far less people have used the legislation that expected, partly because the charges are a deterrent. And there are problems with “staging” where a very tall hedge can’t be cut down to size if it will kill it.
However the bill has established a situation where it is legally recognised that hedges can be detrimental to neighbour’s “quiet enjoyment of their homes” and this has led to quite a few cases being settled amicably. So overall, it is a positive thing, even if it doesn’t always work smoothly.
There’s no such thing as a “bad hedge” but there are some pretty irresponsible hedge-owners out there. And there are also people who didn’t realise how high their leylandii would grow and now can’t afford to get them trimmed by tree surgeons. It’s a complicated situation, but I think the Scottish parliament, following the campaign by ScotHedge and others, is probably doing the right thing.

I was on Five Live earlier talking to Peter Allen about this issue, which was fun, although mostly we seemed to end up talking about whether copper beech or hawthorn is the better hedge and similar stuff.

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