§ Mrs. Brooke
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what progress is being made on preparing for control of high hedges. 
§ Ms Keeble
[holding answer 29 January 2002]: The Government will introduce legislation giving local authorities the power to deal with complaints about high hedges as soon as there is space in the parliamentary timetable. We supported the Private Member's Bill on this issue introduced by the hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. Taylor) in the last session of Parliament and were disappointed that the Bill failed to complete all its stages before the election.
Guidelines commissioned by my Department, which provide an objective method for assessing whether high hedges block out too much light to adjoining properties, were published on our website in December. These guidelines are likely to be a factor for local authorities to take into account when determining complaints under a future statutory scheme. In the meantime, we want to encourage people to apply the guidelines and use the results to settle disputes with their neighbours amicably. We are preparing a leaflet specifically designed for this purpose, which we expect to launch in the spring.