Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby Autoflash » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:28 pm

I've been asked to spread the word about an epetition about conifer hedges. I hope its ok to post a link here (if not then please can an Admin delete this post, and accept my apoligies!)

I've copied the test from the petition below, and the link is at the bottom should anyone be interested. I was not involved with the petition, so I can't answer for its contents!

enforcement of legal height for conifer hedges in line with that for fences/ boundary walls

Responsible department: Department for Communities and Local Government


Tougher regulation should be in place to limit the height of conifer hedges. There are already rules in place for fences and walls to mark a boundary and so the same should apply to hedges. There should also be a minimum distance that these can be planted away from a neighboring house to avoid subsidence issues. A right to lodge a complaint should be available to try to solve disputes without any charges imposed.


http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18253
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby Treeman » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:54 pm

Autoflash wrote:I've been asked to spread the word about an epetition about conifer hedges. I hope its ok to post a link here (if not then please can an Admin delete this post, and accept my apoligies!)

I've copied the test from the petition below, and the link is at the bottom should anyone be interested. I was not involved with the petition, so I can't answer for its contents!

enforcement of legal height for conifer hedges in line with that for fences/ boundary walls

Responsible department: Department for Communities and Local Government


Tougher regulation should be in place to limit the height of conifer hedges. There are already rules in place for fences and walls to mark a boundary and so the same should apply to hedges. There should also be a minimum distance that these can be planted away from a neighboring house to avoid subsidence issues. A right to lodge a complaint should be available to try to solve disputes without any charges imposed.


http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18253



Asked by who?
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby Autoflash » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:08 pm

Treeman, I was asked to share the petition by a personal friend whose Garden is backed by some VERY tall conifers. He didn't ask me specifically to post the petition here. I just thought it may be of interest to some of the people on the board.

If I've stepped outside of the rules (written or not) I would be happy to delete my post or have it deleted!
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby despair » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:11 pm

i assume that the current High Hedge Law is incapable of assisating your friend with the tall conifer hedge that affects their garden

they sure have my sympathy sadly i suspect theres little support in government to change an already pretty impotent piece of legislatiuon although it would provide big business for Tree Surgeons if it could be implemented
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby Treeman » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:24 pm

Autoflash wrote:Treeman, I was asked to share the petition by a personal friend whose Garden is backed by some VERY tall conifers. He didn't ask me specifically to post the petition here. I just thought it may be of interest to some of the people on the board.

If I've stepped outside of the rules (written or not) I would be happy to delete my post or have it deleted!



Just curious
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby TO » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:14 pm

Hi

Hedges are different to fences and walls in that fences and walls don't grow. If you don't realise the futility of trying to stop hedges growing by using legislation check out the similar story of King Canute and his merry men. As for trying to dictate what and where in their garden the neighbour can plant trees and hedges to avoid subsidence is even more ridiculous.

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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby arsie » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:30 am

@TO: Er, beg to differ.

All trees drink water from the ground and they all have a well-known distance over which they do this. The NHBC and local authority building control take this into account when stipulating foundations of planned new houses and your architect and structural engineer work to the same rules. With hedges they will not assume the hedges are kept trimmed and they take a good look at them. Hazel for example is a really thirsty blighter and appears in many mixed deciduous hedges.

Therefore I think it is not difficult to legislate.

Chopping down trees is just as fraught. Removing water abstraction causes clay in particular to absorb the water instead which causes a clay subsoil to swell and the land to 'heave', the opposite of subsidence (caused by clay shrinking when tree roots suck up the water.)
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby TO » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:27 pm

Hi

arsie wrote:All trees drink water from the ground and they all have a well-known distance over which they do this.
Which is?

The trouble is many old houses have existed in close proximity to trees for many years or even decades without any problems. Also, many new houses, despite the NHBC requirements still subside. Ever thought about all those new trees that go in as part of the landscaping scheme. They weren't there when the engineers and building control stipulated foundation depths. Not to mention all the jerry built extensions, garages, sun rooms, conservatories built under PD rights with inadequate foundations. A problem this government are keen to exacerbate.

arsie wrote:I think it is not difficult to legislate.
It's very easy to legislate. The difficult bit is getting it right.

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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby arsie » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:09 am

TO wrote:Hi

arsie wrote:All trees drink water from the ground and they all have a well-known distance over which they do this.
Which is?

The trouble is many old houses have existed in close proximity to trees for many years or even decades without any problems. Also, many new houses, despite the NHBC requirements still subside. Ever thought about all those new trees that go in as part of the landscaping scheme. They weren't there when the engineers and building control stipulated foundation depths. Not to mention all the jerry built extensions, garages, sun rooms, conservatories built under PD rights with inadequate foundations. A problem this government are keen to exacerbate.

arsie wrote:I think it is not difficult to legislate.
It's very easy to legislate. The difficult bit is getting it right.

TO

My structural/soil engineering consultancy, the NHBC, the local authority building inspector are but three of the people I found that had data on all the different tree species and their effects. Hence my use of the phrase 'well known'. There is a very general rule-of-thumb relating the diameter of the canopy to the extent of tree roots, but my point was, the authorities do have very detailed data available and it would be easy to base any legislation on this data. Perhaps I didn't explain this properly so I hope this clears up what I meant.

In my case I argued with the NHBC about hedges close the the planned foundations. They insisted on considering the hazel which was in the hedge as a risk and they insisted on using its mature height in calculations, not the 2 metres of the hedge's then height. New neighbours have come. They don't/won't trim what is their hedge. Trees are now growing out of it ...

Trouble? No, it is quite common for existing trees and houses to be in equilibrium but, as I explained, if you chop the trees down you might get 'heave'. Depends on the species of tree and the type of subsoil. And when plans are considered a great deal of attention these days is paid to the landscaping and the layout and species have to be specified. You won't see many willows, for example, one of if not the most thirsty of all trees. Hence you often see and admire them down by the riverside. But there is nothing to stop anyone planting what they like and where they like in their gardens.

I think the government is actually trying to address a real problem here, inconsiderate people who thoughtlessly plant trees without thinking or caring about the consequences. Let us all hope this government does a better job of legislating than the previous one did with the High Hedges act :roll:
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby TO » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:36 pm

Hi

arsie wrote:My structural/soil engineering consultancy, the NHBC, the local authority building inspector are but three of the people I found that had data on all the different tree species and their effects....... it would be easy to base any legislation on this data
Lets assume all your experts are talking about the NHBC Chapter 4 Foundations, document. The information on tree to dwelling distances is based on the Kew Root Survey (Cutler & Richardson 1981). Interestingly the authors of the survey have said that the information provided by the survey should not be used in the way it is to determine foundation depths. Also, it only applies to highly shrinkable clays, which the vast majority of soils around the country aren't. So how would you legislate using this information and get it right, with great difficulty I would suggest.

arsie wrote: if you chop the trees down you might get 'heave'
You might not. It depends on many factors not just
arsie wrote:species of tree and the type of subsoil


arsie wrote:when plans are considered a great deal of attention these days is paid to the landscaping and the layout and species have to be specified. You won't see many willows, for example, one of if not the most thirsty of all trees.
That's as maybe, but are the trees, of whatever species, that are to be planted as part of the landscaping scheme taken into consideration when the engineers calculate foundation depth. And what about all that grass on those well tended lawns which invariably is overlooked.

arsie wrote: inconsiderate people who thoughtlessly plant trees without thinking or caring about the consequences
But people are entitled to plant what they like, (within the law), where they like in their garden. Do you really think that a government of any colour is going to give a home owner/occupier the legal authority to dictate to their neighbour what they can plant and where on the basis that something might be a problem at some unspecified time in the future in a small part of the country dependent upon the soil characteristics and the weather. An Englishman's home is his castle to each and every politician, and I can assure you they won't be changing their minds any time soon.

As for the high hedges legislation. As I said previously, it's easy to legislate, the difficult bit is getting it right.

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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby arsie » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:47 pm

TO

Obviously you know a great deal about this topic and I bow to your superior knowledge. I speak from direct experience; but I apologise if I have, in your eyes, over-simplified or omitted some important points. Even so I don't think anything I have said is absolutely wrong?

One thing I think I am right about is the need to make people liable (in their "Englishmen's Castles") for the blight they cause on others' lives by inconsiderate and ignorant planting and maintenance - or rather, neglect - of trees. In actual fact I think planting and neglecting proper maintenance is often deliberate and malicious from what I read here. The Leylandii of course is on the bleeding edge because it grows so fast and quickly gets beyond control. Is it even a native UK species? I don't know.

The very existence of this web site and the hundreds of real-life experiences written here, do tend to confirm I might be right? I believe, though I might or might not :roll: be correct, that one subforum was fairly recently added, recognising similarly anti-social problems that exist with another growing species we keep that can affect others: dogs. In a crowded island just any old behaviour that was acceptable in the middle ages becomes anti-social and so legislation is brought in.

I agree it does not appear to be easy to write good legislation.

But I still think it is a good idea to have a try.

Gets my vote :)
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Re: Epetitions 18253 - Legal height for conifer hedges

Postby arsie » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:31 pm

Here is an example of why we need this legislation - on this very same sub forum next door to this thread!
http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=18137
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