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Question

867. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice the body that regulates the boundary regulations regarding privately owned homes (details supplied). [43032/21]

870. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice if there is an avenue to pursue for a private home owner whose neighbour's trees are growing out of control in circumstances in which the neighbours refuse to maintain the trees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41482/21]

891. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Justice if she will introduce legislation to regulate the height of boundary hedges and trees growing on boundaries between private gardens and adjoining properties. [41922/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I propose to take Questions Nos. 867, 870 and 891 together.
As the Deputy may be aware, the difficulties experienced by property owners arising from trees and high hedges on neighbouring land were raised in both the Dáil and the Seanad during the passage of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009.
My Department consulted on the matter with the Law Reform Commission, which had been involved in drafting the 2009 Act. The Commission took the view that unreasonable interference caused by high trees or hedges was a matter in any particular case for tort law or more generally for planning or environmental law.
Under our existing law, a person may be in a position to seek damages or an injunction requiring the cutting of boundary hedges or trees under the tort of nuisance. In order for the nuisance to be actionable, the person concerned would have to show that an easement existed, i.e., whether an easement of light or otherwise, and that there had been a substantial interference with that right.
Mediation on such issues should be considered in the first instance. While the Mediation Act 2017 does not deal directly with the issue of overhanging trees, it does seek to promote mediation as a viable, effective and efficient alternative to court proceedings. This Act contributes to the resolution of disputes by means of mediation, thereby reducing legal costs associated with such disputes and avoiding the stress involved in adversarial court proceedings.