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Legislative Moves, 2000


August 2000 to October 2000

Govt. Proposals for a New Law. | Meeting at the DETR - Sept. 00. | Hedge Nuisance a Cross Party Issue | Reports on D.E.T.R. and Scottish Consultation Papers |

From November 2000

Political and Legislative Moves from Nov 00 - June 2001

Index pages

  • Meeting Arranged at the DETR

    High Hedges Workshop: Developing New Laws
    This took place on Thursday 28th September at the DETR . Michael Jones and Clare, attended. The meeting was chaired by Julie Richardson of the DETR, the Home Office was represented, and there were representatives from thirteen other public bodies and associations, including the Local Government Association and the Institute of Environmental Health Officers.

    The purpose of the discussion was to draw on the knowledge and experience of those who have dealt with the issue, in order to enable the DETR to formulate a workable and effective law. There was a lively exchange of views in open discussion. Hedgeline customary policy and views were fully represented.

    As this was a consultation meeting, we had to agree not to publish the details of what was said over the table but we can go so far as to say that we had a lot of support from other representatives on many of the well accepted common-sense points that have been so often made within Hedgeline.

    We stressed that our members need relief very quickly and that our Hedge Bill, which seeks to amend the Law of Nuisance, is still available for the Government's use, if the suggested primary legislation is going to take too long a time to implement.

  • Latest DETR Briefing Note (September 2nd 2000) sums up the current position on new legislation.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Government Proposals for New Legislation

    The Government have proposed new legislation which would allow Local Authorities to intervene in cases of hedge nuisance where no satisfactory agreement could be reached between the neighbours. The proposals are based on the results of the DETR consultation 'High Hedges, Possible Solutions'.

    These are proposals, and not law, until debated, and voted on by Parliament. The proposals are given in the Government's wording, immediately below.


    DETR Press Release, 10th Aug 2000

    The scope for neighbourhood quarrels about overgrown garden hedges should be cut. Following new measures proposed today to give local councils powers to intervene, Environment Minister Michael Meacher announced.

    The Government is to work up new laws to be introduced in England as soon as there is space in the Parliamentary timetable. Specially designed to tackle nuisance garden hedges, such as Leylandii, the legislation would mean that people could ask their local council to settle their hedge disputes, if they could not resolve matters amicably. The move follows public consultation where people were asked to give their views on possible solutions to these problems. Over 3,000 people responded and were overwhelmingly in favour of giving local authorities legal powers to order hedge-cutting action. Most people wanted new laws to set up a complaints procedure run by local authorities.

    The responses to the Consultation were:

    • 97% of people thought that the Government should take action to sort out high hedge problems;
    • 94% of people believed that new laws were needed to control these hedges. (This includes 77% of the local authorities that replied); and a new system to allow local authorities to determine complaints (option 4 in. the consultation paper) was the clear favourite. 72% of respondents chose this option, including 67% of local authorities. However, most authorities wanted other issues, such as mediation, to be introduced alongside legislation.
    The majority view, therefore, is that people want new legislation establishing a complaints procedure administered by local authorities. This should include, or be combined with, other measures (such as increased use of covenants and planning conditions) that would promote the successful resolution of nuisance hedge disputes.

    The National Assembly for Wales will be consulted on whether these new laws should extend to Wales. It is for the Scottish Executive to consider whether legislation on high hedges should be introduced in Scotland, in the light of the results of their separate consultation on his issue. In Northern Ireland the Assembly is responsible for any decisions on high hedge legislation.

    A short report on the headline results from the Consultation is available on

    From DETR press release Thursday 10th Aug 2000.

    We are delighted that a Government has at last acknowledged the need for a fairer law and declared itself ready to provide such a Law. Our concern is the fact that this will be new legislation, its implementation needs a lot of Parliamentary time and the Government has a very full program.

    We campaigned hard for legislation which would allow Local Authorities to intervene in cases of hedge nuisance and this is, in essence what the DETR has suggested.

    The support for such a measure among private individuals who replied to the Consultation was overwhelming. There was a majority amongst local authorities who replied. We have the acknowledged support of over 200 MPs and the active support of the Tory Opposition and the Liberal Democrat Party.

    Unfortunately, there is a lot of work still to be done. There is as yet no proposition for the form the new legislation will take: the Government's program is a full one and our long-term hedge victims need help now. They have suffered too long.

    We must keep up the pressure on MPs and resume our campaign with vigour, We have overcome the opposition, our task now is to chivvy our friends.

    Further detail follows on this page. See also,

    The Campaign | Political and Legislative Moves Before Summer 2000 | Hedge Control Bills In Parliament

    Contents of this page |Index pages

  • Hedge Nuisance a Cross Party Issue

    As we know the present Government has made the first move ever to find a satisfactory solution to the problem. Its Consultation is an attempt to find the best way to deal with a very sensitive issue.

    The Opposition is also actively supporting. It has declared its policy on the issue. It believes that the local authorities should be given the power, 'to treat high hedges in the same way as as permanent structures which block light and cause a nuisance to neighbours', and that planning legislaton should be altered. It feels that local communities should have the right to decide their own detailed criteria for identifying nuisance hedges, and that there should be no further delay in giving local authorities powers in the matter.
    We were consulted on the construction of this document.

    The Lib Dems are asking the Government to give a statement of the present position regarding the Consultation. We are awaiting the their official policy statement.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Report on D.E.T.R. Consultation Paper (13th Nov 99)

    The D.E.T.R. published a consultation paper on the alternative ways of controlling hedge nuisance, on Saturday 13th November 1999. The closing date was 31st January 2000. We await the results of the Consultation.

    The paper is entitled 'high hedges: possible solutions' and applies to England and Wales.

    It is in A4 format and is 55 pages long. It identifies four ways of dealing with the problem and gives a detailed evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of each of these. It also draws attention to the possiblility of using some combination of these four solutions.

    The four solutions are

    1. Promoting existing procedures such as mediation;
    2. Improving advice and strengthening planning conditions;
    3. Through legislation extending the right to light to include land as well as buildings;
    4. introducing new tailor made legislation.

    From reading the paper it would seem that only solution 4 is seen as giving any generally applicable solution which would encompass nuisance hedges, already existing. There are however certain objections to this solution, to be taken into consideration.

    The paper outlines the key principles that should be followed in developing new policies or plans of action as set out in the 'Modernising Government White Paper' published in March 1999. One of these principles is that 'the remedy, and the costs it entails should fit the scale of the problem'. The document gives estimates of numbers of problem hedges and of the costs of various solutions.

    The Government declares itself to be 'open minded as to what would be he best course of action to follow'. It names a large number of consultees of which Hedgeline is one, together with all local authorities and Park Authorities in England and Wales, as well as numerous tree officer groups, large building firms and a large variety of other interested official bodies.

    Seven questions for consultation are set out in part one and the responses are presumably to be given by the long list of consultees. All responses are to be included in the any numerical or statistical summary of the results.

    A new look at our campaign, with this consultation paper in mind.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Report on Scottish Consultation Paper

    The Scottish Consultation Paper is rather similar in essence. It asks five main questions but welcomes general opinions.The closing date for this consultation was March 31st 2,000. There has not been the publicity in Scotland that has been generated South of the border and we are aware that many Scots did not know about the Consultation. The Siguy Films, BBC television programme 'Neighbours at War' on Monday Wed, Mar 27, 2000, put more Scots Hedge victims in touch with us. A representative of the Scottish Executive itself has been quoted as saying that a greater number replies were coming in towards the end of the Consultation.

    Scots co-ordinator

    The Campaign in Scotland

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    ARCHIVE INDEX - Records Prior to Legislation


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