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.