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Jeremy Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many applications have been made to local authorities to reduce the height of hedges since the introduction of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. 
Jeremy Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment his Department has made of the impact of local authority fees on the willingness of applicants to use the process provided by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to deal with excessively high hedges. 
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has made no formal assessment of the impact of local authority fees on the willingness of applicants to use the process provided by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to deal with excessively high hedges. This part of the 2003 Act came into operation in June 2005 and so it is too soon to draw conclusions about the impact of local authority fees. We are also aware that authorities are keeping their fees for this service under review.
Jeremy Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance he has issued to local councils on actionthey should take in response to an application under high hedges regulations to cut a hedge by morethan a third to ensure reasonable enjoyment of a property. 
Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has issued no guidelines on not cutting hedges by more than a third. Paragraph 6.24 of our publication 'High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure' advises that Councils cannot order remedial works that would kill a hedge. In our view this would amount to the same as removing the hedge altogether and, under section 69(3) of the 2003 Act, Councils are expressly prevented from ordering action involving removal of a hedge.
How far one can reduce a hedge before it is killed will vary according to the particular circumstances and, to illustrate the point, we give the example of a healthy Leyland cypress hedge which will usually respond well to a reduction by up to one-third whereas an older specimen may not. There will be circumstances where Leyland cypress, or other species, may be reduced by more than one-third without destroying them.
Where local councils have concluded that remedial action is required to ensure reasonable enjoyment of a property, it is for them to decide what height the hedge should be reduced to while ensuring its survival. That judgment depends on the species of the shrubs or trees in the hedge, their age and health, and past management. We recommend councils, therefore, to consider each case on its merits and to obtain arboricultural advice.
Copies of 'High Hedges Complaints: Prevention and Cure' are available in the Library of the House. Further information is published on the Frequently Asked Questions pages of our website at www.odpm.gov.uk/treesandhedges, under the heading 'Remedial works'. This acknowledges that there may be some cases where councils could be prevented from requiring action that would provide a full remedy to the problems identified because it would kill the hedge. Nevertheless, they would still be able to order works that offer some relief to the complainant. In addition, if a complainant
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considers that the action specified in a remedial notice does not go far enough, they can appeal against the council's decision to the Planning Inspectorate.
The number of households accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need in each year since 199798, and the number of households in temporary accommodation arranged by
8 Dec 2005 : Column 1508W
local authorities under homelessness legislation on 31 March each year as reported by each local authority in Northamptonshire is as tabled.
The duty owed to a person accepted as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available. As an alternative to the provision of temporary accommodation some authorities arrange for households to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.
|Households in TA(10) at end March 1998||Households Accepted(9)|
|Households in TA(10) at end March 1999||Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 1998||Households Accepted(9)|
|Households in TA(10)|
at end March 2000
|Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 1999||Households Accepted(9)|
|Households in TA(10)|
at end March 2001
|Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 2000|
|Households in TA(10) at end March 2002||Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 2001||Households Accepted(9)|
|Households in TA(10) at end March 2003||Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 2002|
|Households in TA(10) at end March 2004||Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 2003||Households Accepted(9)|
|Households in TA(10) at end March 2005||Rough Sleepers(11) (persons) 2004|
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)how many households applying under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 in each authority in Norfolk and Suffolk have been found to be (a) homeless and in priority need, (b) homeless but not in priority need, (c) intentionally homeless and (d) not homeless in each year since 1997; 
Yvette Cooper: A table presenting summary information reported by each local authority in Norfolk and Suffolk on their decisions under homelessness legislation during each financial year since 1997/98 has been made available in the Library of the House. Also included are the numbers in temporary accommodation arranged by local authorities, as at 31 March of each year.
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