Published on Wed, 10 Aug 2005
Rooker asks public to report nuisance hedges.
Environment Minister Jeff Rooker is asking the public about high hedges.
Jeff Rooker said: "I want to find out if we need legislation to address the high hedge problem in Northern Ireland.
"High hedges can block out the light into a neighbour’s home and garden and darken their lives. New legislation has come into operation recently in England and Wales enabling local authorities to intervene in high hedge disputes which neighbours have been unable to resolve. My aim in this consultation is to find out whether such legislation is required here.
"I am therefore encouraging anyone who is adversely affected by a neighbour’s high hedge to tell the Planning Service about it."
Notes to editors:
- The legislation to give local councils in England and Wales the powers to deal with complaints about high hedges is contained in Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. The Bill received Royal Assent on 20 November 2003 and the legislation came into operation in Wales on 31 December 2004 and in England on 1 June 2005. This legislation did not extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
- The consultation paper and accompanying questionnaire are designed to gather information on the nature of problems caused by nuisance high hedges in Northern Ireland and their geographical extent, to inform a decision on whether legislation is needed in Northern Ireland.
- For the purpose of this consultation a nuisance high hedge is defined as a hedge growing on neighbouring land which, because of its height, is adversely affecting someone’s enjoyment of their home or garden and is higher than 2 metres from ground level.
- The questions contained in the questionnaire are based on the criteria which hedges must satisfy before a complaint can be investigated by local authorities in England under the system put in place to implement Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. These criteria include that:
- The complaint must relate to a ‘high hedge’, which is ‘so much of a barrier to light or access as is formed wholly or predominantly by a line of two or more evergreen or semi-evergreen trees or shrubs and rises to a height of more than two metres above ground level’;
- The hedge must be affecting a domestic property;
- The complaint must be made on the grounds that the height of the hedge is adversely affecting the reasonable enjoyment of the domestic property in question.
- The consultation paper and accompanying questionnaire can be accessed from the Nuisance High Hedges page or can be obtained by calling 028 9041 6966. The public consultation will end on 26 October 2005.
- Media enquiries, contact DOE Press Office at 028 9054 0003.