Scottish hedge campaigners take their thorny issue to the Scottish Parliament



By Oliver Farrimond

A HEDGE-BUSTING campaign group took their fight to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh yesterday.

Scothedge – who represent hundreds of Scots whose lives are blighted by high hedges – presented a dossier on the thorny issue to MSPs at Holyrood.

The document – named “A Growing Problem” – highlights the key issues for MSPs, who are currently undergoing a consultation on the issue, due to end on November 13.

Dr Colin Watson, Scothedge campaign leader, said: “We have been fighting for years against the problem of ‘vegetation tyranny’ caused by high hedges in Scotland and the effect it can have on victims’ lives.

“In England and Wales there was legislation passed in 2003 to help address the problem, but in Scotland there is no legal framework in place to help victims.

“We’re delighted that the Scottish Government has decided to hold a consultation into the issue in order to explore whether new legislation can be introduced to help victims – many of whom who are currently locked in ugly and often abusive disputes with their neighbours.

Robin Harper, former co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party and MSP for the Lothians, said the issue was a “painful” one for victims.

He said: “It must be so painful for somebody to have their light stolen, and this is basically what happens when somebody grows a high hedge.

“What could be worse?

“You have a nice garden that you want to sit in and enjoy yourself, but somebody plants a huge great hedge and there’s absolutely nothing in law that you can do about it.

“This is a major issue.”

Scothedge has been active in Scotland for more than a decade, arguing that high hedges cut off sunshine to homes and gardens, block drains and cause distress to victims.