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Kasare
Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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I have a shared garden with two other neighbours who are being

Customer Question

I have a shared garden with two other neighbours who are being difficult about me having two massive conifers cut down which are blocking the sun entirely from a garden space that I would like to use to grow flowers and other plants and sit there during the summer months. Up until now anything i plant dies and i cant sit in the garden because the trees are blocking the sun. Neither neighbour use the garden and have said I can grow what I want and there is no problem with that. The trees are also towering at least ten feet above the house. I have been trying for two years to persuade them to allow me to cut them down. I will pay for this.
Can you advise on my rights on this matter please? Generally we all get along. The irony is no one else uses the garden area I want to develop. I've explained what I'd like to do and kept them informed and keep trying to negotiate with no success.
Many thanks.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Kasare replied 3 years ago.
Hi, welcome to Just Answer, thank you for your question. I will assist you with this.

Up until recently, although there was legislation for high hedges/trees etc in England and Wales, there was none in Scotland.

However, on 28 March 2013 (very recent), the Scottish parliament unanimously approved the High Hedges (Scotland) Bill gives local authorities the power to tackle high hedges of more than two metres (6ft 6in) in height if the plants (such as leylandii) form a barrier which prevents light. This legislation is currently awaiting royal assent which is expected to be granted in April/May.

Under the legislation, residents will be able to apply to councils for a high hedge notice if they have attempted to resolve the dispute with their neighbours but have failed to reach agreement.

The hedge owner is expected to carry out any pruning ordered at their own expense, and if they refuse, will be charged by the local authority for any work carried out.

The difficulty you have is:
1. Its a shared garden;
2. It is not preventing light to your property but the shared garden - although the Scottish definition is wide and therefore this may not be a real difficulty; and
3. It may not be considered a "hedge" - which for the purposes of the law is defined as a row of 2 or more.

The definition of a high hedge as set out in Section 1(1) of the Bill was amended to remove the words “evergreen and semi-evergreen” and as such, the Bill as passed now defines a high hedge in Scots law as a hedge which—

(a) is formed wholly or mainly by a row of 2 or more trees or shrubs,
(b) rises to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level, and
(c) forms a barrier to light.

What I would suggest is that you speak to your neighbours a final time and inform them of the new legislation which is coming into force and state that as the trees are 10ft high, they will likely come into the High Hedges Act and whilst you do not wish to go so far as to have to contact the council, and you do want to maintain a good relationship with both parties, this one issue is serious for you. See if that has any effect. If not, contact your local council and go through the official process.

Here is a link to a copy of the Bill for you to review - http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_Bills/High%20Hedges%20Bill%20(Scotland)%20Bill/b16bs4-aspassed.pdf

If you have any further questions, please ask. If not, do not forget to rate and review my asnwer (positively, I hope!).

Many thanks

Kasare

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