A group of Perth residents who claim nearby trees are blocking natural light into their homes have lost a fight to have them cut down.
David Fulton, Katie Amphlett, Mark Wright and Andrea Wright approached Perth and Kinross Council under high hedge legislation in their efforts to have the 49ft-72ft high trees chopped down.
In rejecting their application, the council said the trees overlooking Bell Gardens on Perth’s south-western edge did not meet the definition of a “high hedge” under the law.
The residents say the leylandii stop sunlight reaching their two homes in Perth from 12.30pm to nightfall, year-round.
They appealed the council’s decision to the Scottish Government but the appeal was dismissed by government reporter Mike Shiel.
In his written ruling, he wrote: “This appeal is against the council’s decision not to take any action in relation to the application for a high hedge notice submitted by the appellants.
“They live in two adjoining modern detached houses which abut on to the extensive landscaped grounds, now owned by Merlin ERD Ltd, to the west.”
He added: “The gardens of the houses are at a slightly lower level, thus increasing the effective height of the hedge to about 3.3 to 4.3 metres above the ground levels over most of the rear gardens.
“The hedge has been extensively trimmed on the appellants’ side of the boundary, resulting in bare trunks, with all foliage confined to the owner’s side.”
However, the residents say the legislation has been overlooked.
Mr Fulton said: “It is my contention that, where a piece of statutory legislation provides a specific definition of the subject matter, secondary definitions from other sources, including the dictionary or even commonly held notions, are superseded and set aside.
“This is normal legal practice. Only a change in the statute itself can change the definition provided.
“The net effect of this is that the stated intention of the act, to assist those residents affected by ‘hedges, shrubs and trees’ blocking light to homes, is completely undermined.”
Perth and Kinross Council said it has “noted” the decision of the Scottish Government.
Merlin ERD was unavailable for comment.