THE NEW LEGISLATION
Until now, the law has not been of much help in providing a remedy in cases concerning ‘problem’ hedges. However, new legislation contained in The Anti-social Behaviour Act – Part 8, is designed to tackle the previous lack of legal guidance.
KEY POINTS OF THE NEW ACT
- A hedge is defined as 2 or more evergreens or semi-evergreens (NOT necessarily conifers) that form a barrier to light or access.
- The Act applies to domestic property only i.e. a dwelling or a garden/yard used wholly or mainly in connection with a dwelling.
- The Act does not apply to deciduous plants, single trees or hedges less than 2m high.
- The main thing to establish is whether the reasonable enjoyment of the adjoining property/s is affected by the height of a hedge.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU THINK YOU ARE AFFECTED
- You must contact your Local Authority who will decide if a nuisance is being caused by the hedge. A number of factors will be taken into account, including privacy, local features, daylight and sunlight.
- The Local Authority has rights of access to the hedge-owners land on 24 hours notice.
- If the hedge is considered to be a nuisance, the Local Authority will issue a Remedial Notice on the hedge owner stating what action is required to remedy the nuisance and by when it has to be done.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE HEDGE-OWNER STILL DOES NOTHING?
- Failure to comply with the Remedial Notice is a criminal offence and may result in a fine of up to £1000.
- The Local Authority can access the land (after 7 days notice), carry out the work specified in the notice and recover the cost from the hedge owner.
TO ENSURE THAT YOU DEAL WITH A HEDGE PROBLEM CORRECTLY, GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL AUTHORITY.