Somewhere between the blue skies that we would like to enjoy around our house and the foreboding dense greenery of an unwelcome hedge is a large grey area.
When is a high hedge not a high hedge? Anyone wanting to have a neighbour's hedge reduced or to protect their own hedge against loss of privacy or the unwelcome cost of hedge work may have to address this question. The High Hedges (Scotland) Act provides no definition of what a hedge is but does say what Parliament thinks is and isn't an actionable 'high hedge'. A line of deciduous boundary trees, for example, may qualify as a 'high hedge' Unfortunately, it is sometimes left to the courts and to appeals reporters to fill in the blanks and to apply the law to real vegetation and real people.
Some fairly emotive examples of the adverse effects of hedges were presented by the lobby group Scothedge, see here . I have no affiliation with Scothedge but I can see their point, and so did Mark McDonald MSP who was instrumental in bringing forward the Act as a Private Member's Bill. Along the way, though, little consideration (or sympathy) was given to the hedge owner's position, perhaps in the mistaken belief that all high hedges are cultivated out of spite, in aemololutionem vicini.
I have some sympathy on both sides of the hedge and I am happy to represent either party in ensuring that they get the best outcome. As it stands I have grave doubts about how any citizen can possibly be reassured without independent advice or representation.
"No fence of ownership crept in between to hide the prospect from the gazing eye. Its only bondage was the circling sky." - John Clare
Typical sunpath diagram showing the angle and azimuth of the sun at 55 degrees latitude every month and each hour of the day. This can be used to predict shading effects of obstructions to direct sunlight at 55 degrees north, e.g Stranraer. Scotland spans 55 degrees to 60 degrees.