THE TYRANNY OF NUISANCE HEDGES IN SCOTLAND

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A TYPICAL NUISANCE HEDGE IN A RESIDENTIAL AREA

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These pictures show the impact of Lawson Cypress trees upon a residence.At over 8 metres in height, they have simply outgrown their site in close proximity to the north boundary wall and house. This is a typical example of amenity trees planted some thirty years ago, having been allowed to grow unchecked with disastrous consequencies.

  1. With their trunks growing less that a metre from the common boundary wall and around two metres from the house wall, they affect the house and living environment to a far greater extent than they do the hedge owner's house seen at the end of his drive.
  2. Against the height of the house (4.8 metres), the 8 metre trees tower over the building and obstruct light to two rooms.
  3. The rear garden and north east corner of the house are increasingly dominated by funereal growth equivalent in height to a two storey building. Such a building or wall would never get planning permission.
  4. On this bright sunny day it is virtually impossible to see the two windows which are now enveloped by the hedge.
  5. Before abatement to the boundary, the lower branches touched the side of the house and windows. They will soon reach over the roof above simple abatement reach.
  6. The view from the bedroom/study window is entirely filled by the trees which have recently merged into a solid hedge. In winter, the measured light level at noon on a bright day is around 1 lux. In summer maximum illumination is around 5 lux. This progressive loss of light with tree growth means that anyone using the rooms must switch on the lights even in the sunniest of mid summer days. In winter months the bedroom study is a twilight zone.
  7. External drain walls are collapsing.
  8. The boundary wall is cracked due to ground subsidence in the region of the trees where house drains exist.
  9. The property value is depressed by the problems caused by the trees and the incurred subsidence damage.

The hedge owner dismissed concerns of the affected house owner and refused to visit to see the impact of his hedge. Local Authority officials were appalled by his response but could not intervene there being no available statutes. This case has played an important part in launching the campaign for a Scottish High Hedges Bill.

Such a response can only be addressed by arbitration by a third party backed with the authority to enforce a fair solution based upon sensible judgement.