The High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013 (HHA) has been with us now since 2014. This has given the Scottish Government time to assess the effectiveness of the Act and the wording of its guidance to local authorities.
The third version of the HHA guidance is now available at the Scottish Government’s website:
Download the Guidance
The guidance, which can be downloaded as a PDF, clarifies when a local authority should become involved, the powers afforded to them and what constitutes a “high hedge”.
The contentious wording of “being formed wholly or mainly by a row of two or more trees or shrubs” is addressed and clarified by the statement “well-spaced tree lines are not normally considered as a hedge, even if the trees join to form a canopy”.
My conclusion, from reading the guidance, is that the Scottish Government is reiterating that the HHA is aimed at true “hedges”, not woodland edge trees or stands of trees. The local authority should only become involved – issue a high hedge notice – if the trees were established with the purpose of creating a hedge. But all legislation and guidance is open to some interpretation – have a look and see what you think.