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Reports on Past Hedgeline Events


Hedgeline Meeting In Parl. Nov. 99. | The Three Party Conferences 1999 | Mass Meetings in Houses of Parliament | Three Hedgeline Events in Westminster | Private Interview with the Minister | Demonstration in Parliament Square | Hedgeline Turnabout, aug 99 | Demonstrations at the Three Party Conferences | Meeting in Michael Jones House, 1998


Some Examples of Past Media Coverage

The Big TV Documentaries

'Neighbours from Hell' and 'Neighbours at War'

Index pages

  • Meeting in House of Commons Nov. 1999

    We held a meeting in a committee room in the House of Commons, which was booked for us by Dr Lynne Jones M.P., Andrew Rowe M.P. was also present. There were 32 members present. We discussed our way forward with regard to the Consultation Paper and most agreed -

      a need for a mass response to the paper
      a probability that the Government were looking seriously at the possibility of primary legislation but that it would not be done for some years
      a need to carry on our own initiative (statutory nuisance) to provide immediate relief, and an interim measure until a comprehensive Act could be passed.
    Dr Jones stressed the need for consistent response.

  • The Three Party Conferences 1999

    Hedgeline attended all three Conferences. The turnout was very low, especially at the Liberal Conference in Harrogate, but despite this some useful leafleting was done.

    At the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth the Minister, Chris Mullin MP, came out especially to meet our party but as we expected confined his remarks to a civil greeting. We were also very pleased to see Jim Cunningham. He also came out specially to see us.

    At Harrogate Bob Russell MP's Secretary helped by photocopying labels as there were insufficient, and at each of the other two Conferences over five hundred leaflets were distributed.

    We received encouraging respones from many of the delegates and MPs who took the leaflets but there were still some who did not know what the issue was about or confused it with the 'Rural Hedgerow and associated wildlife campaign' which is receiving a lot of attention in Parliament at present.


    Westminster Meetings, 29th April 1999


    Main Meeting

    In the Grand Committee Room

    Alan, co-ordinator of South East and South Central Regions took charge of the first part of the meeting. At 2.30 the meetings joined up and Clare took the chair. Mr. Jim Cunningham MP. and Mr. Andrew Rowe MP spoke about their Private Members' Bills (see the ' Moves in Parliament towards Law Change' page) The meeting expressed its gratitude for the fact that these two Bills with their differing approaches to possible legislation, have presented to the Government, two alternative ways of solving our problems.

    Dr Lynne Jones answered questions, and cleared up our worries about retrospective legislation by saying that changes in Planning Law were retrospective in that they applied to existing buildings.

    Lord Graham of Edmonton spoke and was optimistic about the timescale of the working party looking into whether legislation is necessary. He suggested 'weeks' were likely, rather than 'months'.
    He suggested it was time to think about an all-party delegation to the Minister. We are taking on board this suggestion.

    Lady Byford spoke about our other supporter, Lady Gardner of Parkes, having made a relevant six minute contribution in the House of Lords debate on hedgerow preservation the previous day.

    Virginia Bottomly expressed her willingness to do whatever she could and felt that the Government would respond to the 'reasonableness' of our case.

    Mr Chris Mullins MP attended the meeting.

    Despite mention of some successes in the Small Claims Court and the need to try out 'ASBOs', nobody wished to claim that these solutions were not very limited in their scope and application, and the prevailing emphasis of the meetings was on the need for new legislation to curb monster hedge growers.

    The meeting unanimously showed warm gratitude for the powerful support given to us by our Parliamentary friends.


    --- and happening simultaneously ---

    A Media Event

    In the Jubilee Room at Westminster


    The event was chaired by Clare, who spoke about our black ribbons and their being tokens and reminders of Tony Blair's promise that no- one would be able to make his neighbour's life a misery after April of this year: a promise as yet unfulfilled.

    Michael Jones spoke about ASBOs and then about the Bournville trust taking his neighbour, Mr Stanton, to court for nuisance, under the terms of the Bournville Estate Covenant. Dr Lynne Jones MP filled us in on recent developments in the campaign

    The meeting took less than 20 minutes. It was a media occasion designed for photo opportunities and soundbites.

    Michael Jones presented a letter to Lynne Jones and Jim Cunningham so that it could be taken to the Prime Minister.

    It read.

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Please legislate
    against monster

    Yours sincerely
        2300 Hedge Victims.

    700 more members
    than in our August letter

    Siguy films,

    Siguy films, who have been responsible for so much helpful Television Material were there in force. We are hoping that some the footage from these occasions will be seen in a new BBC programme about the problems caused by high hedges. We would like to thank Siguy films. They have always taken head of our wishes and have done us excellent service to our cause.


    Three Events at the Houses of Parliament
    25th November 1999

  • 1 and 2. Presenting of a Petition to Bob Russell M.P. and Meeting for Key Workers and Members of Parliament and Tree Officers - (followed by meeting with the Minister).

    On Wednesday 3rd February, outside the Houses of Parliament a petition was presented to Mr Bob Russell MP for Colchester. The event was reported on Central Television News

    This event was followed by a meeting in a committee room in the House of Lords, for key workers of Hedgeline and other key personnel.

    The meeting was attended by-

    Lady Hazel Byford. - House of Lords.

    Lady Gardner of Parkes - House of Lords, to whom we are very grateful for booking us a committee room in the House of Lords.

    Lord Graham of Edmonton. - House of Lords.

    Mr Bob Russell M.P. (who secured the private interview with Mr Alan Meale M.P. Under Secretary of State, which was to follow this meeting)

    Ms Hannah Ryan, a personal representative for Mr Alan Rowe MP, who sponsored this meeting and who is to introduce a private member's 'Hedge Control Bill', but who, unfortunately was not able to attend.

    Mr Christopher Adams.

    Mr Eric Dougliss a representative of NATO the National Association of Tree Officers.

    Hedgeline wishes to thank all of these people for giving us their time and their support.

    There were 14 Key workers and members of Hedgeline at the meeting.

    Some of the important points which came out in the meeting were made as follows

    Mr Russell opened by saying that Alan Meale, was sympathetic but he did not know whether he would be able to deliver more than his predecessor.

    The three members of the House of Lords all promised to initiate debates and offered any other possible measures of support.

    Lady Gardner stressed the point that retrospective legislation (something very rarely imposed) was essential in this case.

    It was noted that hedges weaken the foundations of neighbours' homes.

    A definition of a hedge was asked for and Michael gave the legal definition, which was first established as Law during his own court proceedings.

    "A number of woody plants, whether capable of growing into trees or not, which are so planted as to be intended to be In line and which, when mature, to be so integrated together as to form both a screen and a barrier-".

    Lord Graham said that we must not give people too much hope of getting something on the statute book in the short term and suggested that we should not give a set solution which could easily be knocked down, He went on to suggest that, once the Government were convinced of the need for something to be done, we should give them time to make a good job of fomulating legislation so that it could not easily be knocked down.

    It was remarked upon that there had been an article in in the previous week's issue of 'Time Magazine' .

    Malcolm Schofield mentioned that he had noted several examples of second rows of trees being planted behind the boundary hedges, and suggested that this development needed to be taken into account.

    Mr Dennis Harris, group leader in the Dudley Area, suggested that we should stress the fact that other European Countries had legislative controls on hedge height


  • 3. Private Interview with Alan Meale M.P. Minister of the Environment.

    This followed the open meeeting and was attended by Mr Bob Russell M.P. Michael Jones and Malcolm Schofield, Anglia Representative. Mr Meale had asked that only two Hedgeline delegates attend with Bob Russell.

    Mr Meale gave our delegation a considerable amount of time, not only his own but that of a number of civil servants and secretaries. The atmosphere was relaxed.

    It was obvious throughout the meeting that the Government was entirely sympathetic to our problem. There is a working party, at present, investigating the issue and sounding out the various possible solutions, and the Government is giving time to our concerns.

    Mr Meale did, however, make it quite clear that the Government had not yet decided whether or not to help hedge victims. On no account would an ineffective Bill, which might make matters worse, be introduced.
    The Government's problem in finding a solution is the complexity of the issue. It is not a simple matter to make a Law on an issue, which could involve all trees and could be bad for desirable rural Hedgerows, which most people are keen on preserving. Any badly made Law would be blocked in the early stages or could be a fiasco like the 'Dangerous Dogs Bill'.

    Mr Meale said he knew about the fact that France and Germany and other European countries had legislative controls on hedge height.

    The delegation gave a reminder of Mr Blair's promise for April.

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    A Hedgeline Demonstration took place in Parliament Square on the day after the State Opening of Parliament
    and when the debate on the Queen's Speech was about to begin.
    About 50 members took part and there was a eyecatching array of banners reading' 'BAN HEDGE ABUSE, LEGISLATE NOW'.
    A number of MPs came out to speak to us and we were able to attract the attention of several others and to put our case to them.

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    Index pages

    took place outside Centres at the Three Party Conferences.


    Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton
    Sat. 19th Sept. at 2 p.m.
    Labour Conference in Blackpool
    Sat. 26th Sept. at 2 pm
    Conservative Conference in Bournemouth
    Mon. 5th 2 p.m.
    The nine letter-posters, making up the word 'Hedgeline', were displayed, and the individual posters read,-


    'Ban Hedge Abuse. Legislate Now',

    In one case the words 'France Has', 'Germany Has' were added.

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    Open air



    Sunday 23rd August, 1998

    at 11 a.m.



    'Welcome' by the Editor of the Birmingham Post, Nigel Hastilow.


    A media event to help change the Law

    The event took place in the large conference hall at the centre. The day was wet. It was attended by about 1600 hedge victims from various parts of the country.

    It provided the basis for a BBC TV half hour documentary devoted entirely to hedge abuse and broadcast in September.

    The line of hedge victims each depositing a hedge sprig in the golden chalice as he walked past, had a B visual appeal and should have brought home to countless television viewers the scale of the problem .

    There were other television and press representatives at the meeting and they interviewed individual hedge victims and made valuable contacts for further media coverage and gave us valuable publicity.

    The Turnabout resulted in a petition which read,

    This was presented at 10 Downing Street at 12 noon on 25th August. The event was very well attended by media representatives and provided a main news item.

    The two initiatives were designed to help create awareness, to change public attitudes, and to shame people into lopping hedges and, we hope, they brought us a little nearer to a law change.


  • Early Meeting in Michael Jones House, 1998

    A meeting of about 25 members of Hedgeline, from all over England, was held in Michael Jones' house in Bournville, Birmingham.

    Siguy films covered the event and the meeting was featured in the epoch making TV documentary 'Neighbours from Hell' broadcast in late 1998 on Carlton TV.

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    ARCHIVE INDEX - records prior to legislation


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