Many MPs have helped us by pushing for the High Hedges Law. Over 300 constituency MPs wrote to Mr Prescott since the talking out of the Stephen Pound Bill in June 03. Many of these had written several times before. Some of our faithful Parliamentary supporters spent hours of their time in the chamber or corridors at the different stages of the various private members bills in both houses. We owe a great deal to these politicians.
We would like to make aspecial mention of the following friends and allies. These have been at the sharp end of the High Hedges work and we would like them to know how much they are appreciated.
Lord Falconer, who, when he was in charge of 'High Hedges' for a brief time, paid careful attention to the representations of some of our political allies about the severe problems associated with a law based on a single light criterion and the 'BRE Guidelines'.
Lady Gardner, who has introduced a series of Hedge Bills into the Lords, starting with a bill in 1999 to make problem hedges a Statutory Nuisance. Most recently in 2003 she tried to get her High Hedges Bill introduced into the government Anti-social Behaviour Bill and, after some setbacks, her efforts were rewarded. She has personally supported individual hedge victims and has advised Hedgeline. She took our cause to her heart and we take her to ours.
Lord Graham of Edmonton, 'Ted', who has been actively supportive for years. Very early on he supported moves to have hedge-nuisance included in the 1990 Environmental Act: Statutory Nuisances and he has since given strong backing to Lady Gardner.
Lady Hamwee, who has strongly supported the Hedge Bill in the Lords for some time now and to whom we are deeply indebted for finding the precedent which allowed our Bill to be put in the ASB Bill. It had been previously turned down by the Public Bills Office as unsuitable for inclusion in this Bill.
Lord Howell, 'Dennis' (deceased), was the first MP whom we know to have publicly came out in support of high hedges legislation. After Michael Jones' court case in 1995 he spoke on TV from his own garden. He tried to get a bill drawn up but was cut short from completing his task.
Lord Rooker, 'Jeff', who has been pushing very hard for us for years. We are sure that he was a very important influence in persuading the Government to adopt the Bill after the Pound Bill was blocked in 2003 and that he did much to promote the liaison with Home Office Ministers, which resulted in the incorporation of the Hedge Bill into the ASB Bill.
Lord Campbell-Savors, who supported our campaign and advised from the earliest time. He joined our earliest delegation to a Minister in 1997, before Hedgeline was formed.
Bob Ainsworth MP who was the 'Hedge Minister' at the time and vigorously supported the John Taylor Bill in 2001.
Yyette Cooper MP, who came in as Minister directly in charge of high hedges at the crucial time when the Government was deciding to take over the High Hedges Bill in 2003.
Jim Cunningham MP, who presented two early ten minute rule bills and helped us get our legislative campaign on its way.
Angela Eagle MP, who changed hearts and minds way back in 1997. The Department were then saying that legislation was impossible. She tried to get Hedges included in the first Anti-Social Behaviour Bill.
Lynne Jones MP, who has been supportive from before Hedgeline was formed. She has advised us on a very regular basis, introduced questions for us, tackled Ministers for us, arranged and attended Media events with us and helped with many of our strategies from the very outset of our campaign. Always central to our campaign.
Tony McNulty MP, who, we think, was instrumental in persuading Stephen Pound to take on a hedge bill. Tony McNullty supported this bill in the House at its traumatic last debate only a day or two after he had been moved to a hefty job in the Department of Transport. We suspect him of doing good things behind the scenes.
Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher MP. He was the Minister in charge when of the relevant Department when the Government first gave its promise to support new hedge legislation. He made the announcement to the Media on August 10th 2000. We suspect that he has continued to support.
Alan Meale MP was the Minister directly in charge when the Government first announced its intention to legislate. He has continued to support.
Chris Mullin MP, who has been a wonderful ally to have. He was for a time a minister in the then relevant Department, in the lead up to the Consultation, 'High Hedges: Possible Solutions', in 1999/2000. We understand that when he first went to this Department he would not rest until he was given the specific responsibility for problem hedges. We are convinced that he was the driving force in securing Government involvement with High Hedges Legislation and the commitment to drafting a bill. We know that since that time he has never stopped applying firm pressure from behind the scenes.
Stephen Pound MP, whose lively and witty methods of presentation, and highly developed broadcasting skills, have gained us much support in the Media and in that context proved rather too much for our main opponent. He kept working hard for us even after his Private Members Bill was blocked. We were lucky he took up the Hedge Bill.
Andrew Rowe MP (deceased), was highly placed in the Private Members Bills Ballot and chose us. He tried to put a Bill through but the Government did not like the format he decided on.
Bob Russell MP has supported strongly since Hedgeline was formed in 1998. He arranged and led an early delegation to a Minister, has advised us at various times and was strongly supportive of the Pound Bill.
John M. Taylor MP, who gave us his only Ballot win in a long Parliamentary career, only to have his bill blocked. This was in 2001. He presented his bill with both eloquence and obvious sincerity and went on to support subsequent legislative attempts.
We know that Lady Gardner, Lord Graham, Dr Lynne Jones and Chris Mullin helped us to get a meeting with the Department, when we first realised in 2001 that the law, as first drafted, which was based on a single light criterion and the 'BRE Guidelines' would not help most hedge-victims.
There are other politicians who have been working for us behind the scenes in various ministries and in the corridors of Westminster. We can only guess at their contribution but we are working hard on this and we are extremely grateful to them all.
The Urban Policy Unit which has been under three differently named Departments since we started campaigning has always been sympathetic and charming and has been supportive wherever this was possible. It has listened to the complaints of thousands of hedge victims. It has educated us and guided us through mazes of procedural detail. (We refer to the whole of this unit and particularly to the official in charge throughout our time of campaigning).
The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust who supplied Hedgeline with its initial fund of three thousand pounds which enabled it to start its work of hedge-victim support and its campaign for legislation.
The University of Central England Property Faculty advised Michael Jones and Hedgeline in their initial thinking about new legislation.
Media. We are indebted to the sensitive understanding of reporters and broadcasters who have brought the plight of individual hedge victims and the unfairness of problem hedges to the notice of the general public over the last nine or so years. They have been responsible for changing public opinion towards hedge bullying. In the early years some newspapers allied themselves with our cause, for example, in the homeland of Hedgeline, the Birmingham Post produced our first professionally printed newsletter, and its Editor, Nigel Hastilow, spoke at our mass meeting, 'Turnabout'. The big television documentaries of 1998 and 1999 which were made by Siguy films, usually under the directorship of Rod Williams, opened up the subject to millions of people. The first national newspaper to support Hedgeline was the Daily Mail which came forward and asked us to give them the details of our new organisation so that they could circulate these to the public.
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