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Now council wants control of your garden

HOMEOWNERS will be forced to keep their back gardens in check if new Dublin City Council bye-laws are introduced.

New rules on the control of hedges and trees are being drawn up and will comes before councillors this week for discussion.

Labour's Mary Freehill and Fine Gael's Ruairi McGinley, who are championing the laws, said problems arise when residents let their gardens grow wild.

Ms Freehill told the Herald that the new bye-laws are "something that is very badly needed".

"People are having major problems with very high trees in gardens.

"You can have a tree as high as you like -- it can have a huge impact on light (to adjoining properties)," she said.

Ms Freehill complained that the issue has not been tackled "with any great enthusiasm" by council officials.

She said it is an issue of interest for other local authorities, which are monitoring the progress of the city council before possibly taking action themselves.

Mr McGinley told the Herald: "People have had issues with hedges growing to 10 feet.

"We're bringing in bye-laws to give control over that. Nothing can be done at the moment," he aded. He said that there are some "extreme cases" where "forests" had appeared in people's gardens.

The councillor added that regulations are already in place ensuring householders keep hedges and trees next to public roads and footpaths under control.

The latest bye-laws target overgrown gardens that are interfering with adjoining private properties.

"One of my constituents was on to me about it -- their next door neighbour's garden was totally overgrown," Mr McGinley said. Among the issues addressed in the draft bye-laws are situations where light is being cut out or there is an overhang into another garden.

Mr McGinley, who is in favour of the new rules, said he expects that they will be passed when they eventually come before a full meeting of the council.

A document has been prepared for Tuesday's meeting of the Economic Development, Planning and International Affairs special policy committee (SPC).

When the draft bye-laws are formulated, they will then be made available for a period of public consultation during which comments on the plans can be made.

The amended document will then be placed before the SPC before being forwarded to a full meeting of City Hall for approval.