Progress on high hedge bill

North East SNP MSP Mark McDonald has lodged his private members’ bill, the High Hedges (Scotland) bill.

Mr McDonald first announced his intention to bring forward the bill last September, winning the full support of the Scottish Government in taking forward the SNP’s manifesto pledge to deal with the problem of nuisance high hedges.

After lodging a draft proposal in December, Mr McDonald appeared before the Local Government and Regeneration committee in February to outline his proposals and outline the decision not to conduct a further consultation, following three similar consultations in recent years.

Since then, Mr. McDonald has continued to liaise with groups and individuals with an interest in the issue, including groups representing Scottish Tree Officers, the Woodland Trust and the interest group Scothedge, whilst drafting the bill.

The provisions of the bill enable individuals to take complaints about evergreen and semi-evergreen hedges to their local authority if other efforts to resolve disputes have been unsuccessful. Local authorities will have the power to compel hedge owners to act, or to take action on their behalf, if the hedge is deemed to be a high hedge under the terms of the bill.

Commenting after the bill launch, Mr McDonald said: “I am pleased that the bill is now lodged and we have taken another step forward to solve the problem of nuisance high hedges.

Over the last few months, it has become clear this is a problem that affects households from all parts of Scotland and I believe that this bill will give those affected the powers to finally have the problem addressed.

The bill now proceeds to Stage 1 of the parliamentary bill process and I look forward to presenting the bill to the relevant committee and outlining why I believe this bill provides a workable, effective and practical solution to the issue of problem high hedges.”

The details of the proposal will appear on the Scottish Parliament’s Business Bulletin on the Scottish Parliament website on October 4.

A copy of the bill will also be available at: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/55315.aspx