This is an archive page. For current information go to Hedgeline homepage

Current Political Situation and Latest News

September 2001 to February 2002


Tree religion and its implications for proposed legislation | Provisions for hedge control long in place on prestigious estate | Question in Lords re T.P.O.s, & timescale for legislation. Jan 02. | The BRE 'Guidelines' and on Hedge Height: Our comments February 1st 2002. | Proposed Govt. Advice Pamphlet: Our comments February 1st 2002. | DTLR States its Intentions regarding the BRE Guidelines | Revised Guidelines will be published | Government Statement, September 2001 | Party Conferences 2001 | Mr Brough prosecuted for cutting

Items Still Current, from Before June 2001

Political and Legislative Scene, June to August 2001, (Just before and just after Election)


Index pages

  • Tree Religion

    We have found that most 'tree' professionals are sympathetic to the severe problems that trees sometimes cause to individuals. Trees are a magnificent creation and wildlife conservation is an urgent pressing concern, but when some hedge victims realise that the Government advice paper based on the BRE 'Guidelines' has OK'd the hedge that has been causing them grievous problems for years, their attitudes to trees and to those who shepherd them, might undergo a reversal. A minority of 'tree' professionals develop a fervour towards their charges which renders them totally insensitive to the suffering they may be causing.
    Over two thirds of our members will derive harm and not benefit from these Guidelines. The problem hedges will receive official sanction.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Bourneville Village Trust's 'Guidelines' on Hedge Height

    The Bourneville Village Trust which manages one of the largest residential estates in the country has just issued a glossy document entitled what are my Responsibilities as a Resident.

    One paragraph reads as follows

    This is all it has to say on the subject.

    Michael Jones

    (Of course people are not generally allowed to cut their neighbours hedges except on their own side of the boundary. The Bourneville Estate provisions are unusual).

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Question In Lords, 31st Jan, 02.

    Lady Gardner asked the following question in the house of Lords

    Whether they propose to amend the Trees Act 1970 in the light of the House of Lords decision in the case of Delaware Mansions Ltd and others v The City of Westminster and, if so, whether they will include hedges in any proposed new legislation.
    Helpful points were put by Lord Bradshaw, and Lord Ted Graham, Lord Campbell-Savours, Baroness Byford and Lord Mackie of Benshie and we are very grateful to these as well as to Lady Gardner for their sympathetic support and for the highlighing of the cruelties of some TPOs, a point rarely brought forward.

    It is clear from the replies of Lord Filkin, on behalf of the Government, that we have a long wait ahead for the Government to put through the legislation.

    the Government have been clear about their wish to legislate, and a draft Bill is on the stocks to introduce when a suitable time is available. For obvious reasons, I cannot give a commitment for a Bill in this Session or the next, but I am certain that noble Lords will be keeping the primacy of such legislation before the Government's attention.
    Many of our members who have been saddled with injudicious TPOs on their trees will be delighted to hear that in reply to a direct question put by Lady Gardner he Government spokesman answered as follows,
    My Lords, for the second time this week, wait on--the position is clear. If the council refused permission for necessary work to be done to a tree or hedge whose roots were causing damage to an adjacent property, the council would be liable.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • The revised 'Guidelines' and the Draft Advice pamphlet are causing Hedgeline much concern (Our comments Febuary 02 )

    The revised 'Guidelines' which have been published in advance of the new law they were devised to support and an 'advice leaflet' is being prepared to help people to solve their own problems.

    Some hedge victims will be most considerably helped if the grower follows the recommendations set out in the revised 'Guidelines', for example those with hedges very close to the sides of windows and those with hedges with a S. SE. SW. and W. orientation. But others, especially those with hedges with a N. NE. and NW orientation will still be saddled with hedges far higher than they consider in any way reasonable and in a large proportion of cases higher than the hedges they are at present complaining about.

    The Draft Advice Pamphlet which the Government has produced is Bly supportive of problem hedge growers and will help few victims and we are acutely concerned about this also

    The BRE Guidelines and proposed pamphlet.
    Hedgeline's acute concerns which it has communicated to the Government

    A licence to grow problem hedges | How Hedgeline knows these hedges are too high

    Diagram showing heights suggested in the 'BRE Guidelines' for northerly aspects in small gardens

    Shade in winter table

    Hedgeline's views on suitable heights

    Extreme Concerns about the Draft Government Advice Pamphlet

    Pamphlet based on 'BRE Guidelines' worse than useless

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Revised Guidelines have been Published, (6th December 2001)

    The Revised Guidelines are published, and the Government's intentions regarding them are outlined in the Parliamentary question and Sally Keeble's answer, quoted below.


      To ask the Secretary of State for 'Transport, 'Local Government and the Regions, when the project by the Building Research Establishment,and the Tree Advice Trust to develop an objective way of assessing the obstruction of light by hedges will be completed, and when the report will be published.

    by Sally Keeble MP, of the Urban Policy Unit.

      "The Building Research Establishment (BRE), and Tree Advice Trust have now, completed their project to develop an objective method for assessing whether high hedges block too much daylight and sunlight to adjoining properties, and to provide guidance on hedge heights to alleviate these problems,

      Copies of the final report of their work, together with guidelines for calculating hedge height, have been placed in the Libraries of both houses. These documents are also being published on my Department's website.

      The guidelines explain how to calculate whether a hedge is likely to block out too much light from a garden and from the main rooms of a house. In relation to gardens, the procedure looks at what portion of the garden is shaded by the hedge and what direction it faces. For the rooms of a house, the main factor is the distance from windows to the hedge. Some of the details of this formula have been refined in the light of the results of consultation and field-testing on sample hedges.

      We want to encourage people to apply the BRE guidelines to their problem hedge and to use the results to try to settle matters with their neighbours amicably. We will therefore be preparing a leaflet specifically designed for this purpose. It will include. a simplified version of the BRE guidelines as well as advice on how people might approach their neighbours with the information to try and agree a solution. We will be involving local authority, professional, consumer and advice groups in its development and expect to launch the leaflet in spring next year.

      We recognise, of course, that in some cases guidance and voluntary action is no substitute for a legal remedy. We remain committed, therefore, to bringing forward legislation to set up a statutory complaints system for dealing with high hedge problems as soon as there is space in the Parliamentary timetable.


      High hedges

      Although we have no High Hedges Bill in this Session of Parliament, we have completed the work (carried out for us by BRE) to draw up some objective tests that people can use to assess whether their hedge is causing a major obstruction of light to their homes and gardens.

      The final guidelines have been published on our website at:

      The final report by BRE on how they developed the guidelines is also on the web. It is called 'High Hedges, Daylight and Sunlight: Final Report' and can be found at:

      Both documents are also attached in Word format.

      Because we know how difficult it can be to tackle and settle neighbour disputes of all kinds, we will be preparing a simplified version of the guidelines which will also offer advice on how people might approach their neighbours with this information to try and agree a solution.

    Sorry, but Hedgeline cannot offer advice about how to download these documents.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Party Conferences (September - October 2001)

    Hedgeline distributed leaflets to MPs and delegates at all three Party Conferences

    This year we had representatives inside the Conference Halls. (The Conferences were somewhat curtailed owing to the international terrorist crisis, but the various Campaigning organisations were still able to distribute their material).

    • Molly, a long standing Brighton member and friend of Michael Jones, distributed leaflets inside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.
    • Garth, our North West Area Organiser, and Bruce our Liverpool Area Organiser looked after the Tory Party Conference in Blackpool. A Tory Party Worker distributed leaflets inside the Conference.

    • Malcolm from Anglia looked after the Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth.
    • Duncan, our keyworker who has provided liaison with the Tory Party since Hedgeline was founded, entirely funded the printing of our leaflets.

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Publication of Guidelines

    The 'draft Guidelines' on hedge heights in residential areas, have been revised and will be published and distributed to the public in some way. (Expected around about the end of this Summer).

    These Guidelines were not satisfactory to hedge-victims, but it was always intended that they should be tested, and if necessary, revised. The Guidelines have been tested on Hedgeline hedges and I understand that some changes have been made. For reference on the disappointing 'Draft Guidelines'

    We have no chance of getting the new Law in this Session, as the Government are not giving a high priority to putting our Bill through, and no 'Ballot-winning Private Member' came forward for this Session. We will, however, at least have an authoritative statement of 'reasonable hedge height' which we will be able to try and use until we can persuade the Government or a private member to put our Bill through.

    See latest standard letter from the DTLR, immediately below.

  • Government Statement, September 2001

    Sally Keble MP has replied as followson behalf of Stephen Byers, the Government Minister now responsible for our concerns, to a letter from a member's local MP, (September 2001),-

      "John M. Taylor's Private Member's Bill failed to reach the statute book before the election and so was lost, and the subject has been picked up in this new Session by any of The MPs who were successful in the ballot. Other priorities have also prevented its inclusion in the Goverment's own legislative programme - for this first Session at least.

      Nevertheless, we remain committed to bringing forward new laws to deal with high hedge problems as soon as there is space in Parliament's busy schedule.

      Meanwhile, my Department has commissioned the Building Research Establishment and the Tree Advice Trust to develop a simple formula that would enable people to assess whether or not a hedge is likely to obstruct light to someone's home or garden. Although light is not the only problem that people encounter with these hedges, it tends to be the main one. We expect to receive the final report of this project during the summer. We will then be considering what is the best way of getting this information out to the public, so that people are encouraged, to apply the formula to their problem hedge and to use the results to try to settle matters with heir neighbours amicably.'.

    On 10th August 2000, after the Consultation, which had responses in the thousands compared with the usual hundreds, Michael Meacher, the Government Minister, then in charge, wrote, -

      'The majority view, therefore, is that people want new legislation establishing a complaints procedure administered by local authorities'.

    The need for new legislation was admitted by the Government, and promised for 'when there is Parliamentary time'. This was a whole year ago. and the Government and local Councils have been receiving letters about dire problems with neighbours' high-hedges for five years previous to this.

    We are victims. Our lives are to a greater or lesser degree being ruined and our savings and even our homes are being put at risk, by the acknowledged unfairness of existing Law. The growers of problem hedges have far more rights than their victims.

    The injustice is almost universally acknowledged; the issue has B cross party support.

    Many people, are volunteering the general opinion, that they feel that it could be put through quickly and easily and that the Government should find a way to do this, and not leave us dangling with no hope of anything except being repeatedly put off with the words, 'when there is Parliamentary time'.

    The 'High Hedges Bill' was drafted by the Government and published in Feb 2001, It was sponsored by John M. Taylor as a private member's bill in the last session of Parliament, ending April 2001 .

    Contents of this page | Index pages

  • Another Prosecution for Cutting (September 4th 2001)

    Mr Paul Brough, unfortunately, tore down chain link fence and cut a Leyland Cypress Hedge. Despite words of sympathy from the Judge, who expressed his view that the hedge was unsuitable, he was fined 500 pounds and his costs were nearly fifty thousand pounds. Mr Brough lives in Northumberland.
    We have heard it rumoured that the hedge was originally planted on the land Mr Brough now owns and that he considered it to be his hedge at the time of cutting.

    We extend our most sincere sympathy.

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    ARCHIVE INDEX - Records Prior to Legislation


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