What's classed as a high hedge, how you can apply for a high hedge notice and what happens after we issue a notice.
What is a high hedge?
A high hedge is a row of 2 or more trees or shrubs that:
- is more than 2 metres above ground level
- forms a barrier to light
This can be any type of hedge. The roots of the hedge are not taken into account.
A hedge is not regarded as a barrier to light if it has gaps that significantly reduce this effect at heights of over 2 metres.
Stirling Council's investigating officer would make any decision on whether or not a hedge is formed by trees and shrubs planted closely together to form what is commonly recognised as a hedge. Single trees, woodlands or forests are not included.
Resolving disputes over high hedges
Stirling Council acts as an independent and impartial adjudicator when neighbours are unable to settle a dispute over a high hedge. We have the power to make and enforce formal decisions on high hedges in these cases.
Owners and occupiers of residential properties whose light is affected by a high hedge can apply to the council for a high hedge notice.
The hedge does not need to be on adjoining land, but it does need to form a barrier to light.
Before you apply for a high hedge notice
You must take reasonable steps to resolve a dispute before making a formal application. A high hedge notice should be a last resort and will be rejected if there's no evidence that you've attempted to resolve the dispute.
The steps people should take before approaching Stirling Council will vary from case to case but may include informal discussions between neighbours or some form of mediation involving a third party (for example Mediation Scotland or Citizen Advice Scotland).
Even if you've previously made contact with them, you must send a letter to the owner of the hedge. You must do this at least 28 days before you submit a high hedge application. You should keep a copy of this letter and submit it with your application.
How to apply
To apply, you should follow these steps.
- Read the guidance information on high hedge notices.
- Download and complete a high hedge application form.
- Send the application and copies of all supporting documents to the address listed on the final page of the form.
The fee for a high hedge notice application is £421.
Where there are multiple applicants, there's a further charge of £100 for each additional property.
After you apply
- notify the hedge owner
- arrange to visit the property and assess the impact of the hedge on the light levels of the applicant's property
The hedge owner will have 28 days to respond to the concerns you've raised in your application.
If we issue a high hedge notice
We'll notify all parties, and outline the reasons for our decision.
If we issue a notice, the hedge owner will be given a deadline by which they need to meet the terms of the notice.
If the hedge owner fails to take the remedial action in time, we can, if necessary, arrange for the work to be carried out.
We have the authority to recover the cost of any work we carry out from the hedge owner.
If you're not happy with our decision
Either party can appeal to Scottish Ministers through the Scottish Government's high hedge appeals process. You do not have to pay a fee to make an appeal.
Guidance we follow on high hedges
Scottish local authorities must follow the Scottish Government's guidance on the implementation of the High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013.