High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011March 7, 2014
The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 (“the Act”) came into force on 31 March 2012. If you are an owner or occupier of a domestic property and you feel that your reasonable enjoyment of the property is being adversely affected by the height of a hedge situated on land owned or occupied by another person then you will be able to make a complaint about this to your local Council.
Under this legislation a “high hedge” is a barrier to light which is wholly or predominately formed by a line of two or more evergreens and rises to a height of more than 2 metres above ground level. The Act does not apply to trees which are growing on land of 0.2 hectares or more in area, which is forest or woodland.
A complaint may be made to your local Council accompanied by the fee which will not be more than £360.00. However the Council will not proceed with the complaint if you have not taken all reasonable steps to resolve matters, or if the Council feels that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious.
If the Council decides that the high hedge is adversely affecting your reasonable enjoyment of domestic property then it can serve a Remedial Notice on the owner of the land with a view to remedying the adverse affect or preventing its recurrence
The Act provides for the recipient of Remedial Notice to appeal the decision to the Valuation Tribunal. Where the recipient of the Remedial Notice does not take the action required within the compliance period then they will be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine.
It is hoped that the introduction of this legislation will help to resolve the rising number of difficulties relating to high hedges and should you require any further advice please contact the Property Department who will be glad to help.
Please note; the content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal advisor before any action is taken.
Please contact Cleaver Fulton Rankin on 028 9027 3141 or alternatively visit www.cfrlaw.co.uk