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How to appeal the decision of a high hedge notice application

If either the applicant or the hedge owner is unhappy with their council's decision, they have the right of appeal to Scottish Ministers.  Appeals are heard on behalf of Scottish Ministers by reporters based at the Scottish Government's Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).  Guidance and notes for appellants, and a high hedge appeal form, are available on the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals pages on this website.

The Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals is based at 4 The Courtyard, Callendar Business Park, Callendar Road, Falkirk, FK1 1XR, or they can be contacted by email at dpea@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

Fees for appealing a council's decision

There is no fee involved to make an appeal, your right of appeal is included in the original cost of making an application.  You will only be liable for additional costs should you seek the advice of a representative, such as a solicitor, to help process your case.

Timeframe for submitting an appeal

If either the applicant or the hedge owner wishes to appeal their council's decision, they must do so no later than 28 days after the council notified all parties of their decision.  Any appeals received after this time period has elapsed cannot be considered.

The process of determining an appeal

When an appeal is received, the DPEA will copy the appeal form and any supporting documents to the council against whose decision is being appealed.  The DPEA will also notify the other party to the appeal (i.e. the applicant if the hedge owner is appealing, or the hedge owner if the applicant is appealing).  The council and the party being appealed against will have 21 days to comment on the appeal.  If they do so, the appellant will be given a further 14 days to respond.

The reporter dealing with the case will then visit the site of the hedge and the property affected by it.  14 days' notice of the site visit will be given to the council, hedge owner/site occupier and the hedge neighbour.  The DPEA will normally aim to issue a decision within 12 weeks of receiving an appeal.

Both the applicant and hedge owner have the right of appeal over the council's decision.  An applicant may appeal since they are unhappy that a high hedge notice has not been issued or its terms do not go far enough, whilst a hedge owner may appeal the decision since they feel the issue of a high hedge notice is either not justified or its terms go too far.

The possible outcomes of an appeal

It is possible the Scottish Government's reporter will simply uphold the council's original decision.  Alternatively, the reporter may quash a high hedge notice issued by the council or order the issue of a high hedge notice when the council had initially decided not to do so.  The third possible outcome is the terms of the high hedge notice could be varied in some way, for example the timescale for the required works to be carried out could be altered.

Please note the reporter's decision is final and there is no further right of appeal.  However, affected parties may seek a judicial review on a point of law.