The High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013

MAR 12, 2014 ‹ back to news & views

The High Hedges (S) Act 2013 comes into force on 1 April 2014.

The objective of the Act is to provide owners and occupiers with a statutory means of resolving disputes over the effects of high hedges, which interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of domestic property, where neighbours have not been able to resolve the issue amicably.

Meaning of ‘High Hedge’

The Act defines a high hedge as: -

a hedge that is

  •  formed wholly or mainly by a row of two or more trees or shrubs;
  •  rises to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level;
  • and forms a barrier to light (unless gaps significantly mitigate its overall effect as a barrier at heights of more than 2 metres above ground level).


It is not necessary for the whole of a hedge to fall within the definition. If parts of a hedge qualify then the Act will apply.

The Process

The Act will give owners and occupiers a right to apply to the relevant local authority for a High Hedge Notice (HHN) and gives local authorities powers to make and enforce decisions in relation to high hedges in their local area.

A High Hedge Notice will state the action to be taken and the time limit for compliance and will be binding on the owner of the hedge.

Applicants will have to pay a fee with their high hedge application – perhaps giving new meaning to the term ‘Hedge Fund’ – but the Act does not specify the level of fees, allowing local authorities to set fees according to circumstances including the means of the applicant.

Further information on the Act can be found at:- www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/public-safety/17141/highhedges

philipbuchan@r-r-urquhart.com