The High Hedges (Scotland) Act comes into force 1 April 2014. A high hedge is defined by the Act as one which is wholly or mainly formed by a row of two or more trees or shrubs which is over two metres in height and forms a barrier to light. The Act aims to provide an effective means of resolving disputes over the effects of a high hedge.
Neighbours must attempt to resolve the issue themselves first. Recourse to the local authority is a last resort and where neighbours have not been able to resolve the issue amicably. The Act gives home owners and occupiers a right to apply, with payment of a set fee, to a local authority for a high hedge notice which may require a hedge owner to take action to remedy the problem and prevent it recurring. There is provision for both the applicant and the hedge owner to appeal against a decision to issue a high hedge notice and the notice can be confirmed, varied or quashed. An applicant can also appeal against a decision not to issue a notice. The Act also provides local authorities with the power to undertake the work specified in a high hedge notice if it is not complied with by the hedge owner within the time specified. Local authorities can then recover the costs of any such enforcement from the hedge owner.