Views are being sought on how neighbourly disputes over high hedges can be resolved more effectively.Quick check of the diary, nope 1st of April’s long past, they’re serious.
This could include encouraging the inclusion of hedge height limits in property title deeds, better mediation options, or examining the case for a new law on the issue.
So if you’re sitting comfortably children, then Community Safety Minister Fergus will, rather patronisingly, begin:
"High hedge disputes should be a relatively trivial matter, with those involved resolving things with a simple neighbourly chat.Of course, a "consultation" has now been requisitioned, which will then be followed by a "full analysis" and obviously a "comprehensive report"- a whole army of "Community Wellbeing and Safety Spokespersons" is, no doubt, being mobilised as we speak.
"But for those involved, the issue can sometimes be far from trivial and we have seen from recent cases that such disputes can, in a relatively small number of instances, get out of hand.
"What starts off as an amicable discussion can often spiral out of control leading to confrontation and antisocial behaviour in our communities."
I am a natural cynic, but even so, the key line for me, hidden amongst all the "We are the World", "Why can't we be friends?" "He's not my stroppy neighbour aggressively wearing a pair of shears...he's my brother" emotions was this :
"Of course, there is existing legislation in place to deal with any dispute which does get out of hand..."OK, stop there.
On a completely unrelated matter:
Labour last night called for an official inquiry after it was revealed that overtime payments for Scottish Government ministers' staff "shot through the roof" by £83,000 in just two years despite there being half the number of cabinet ministers under Alex Salmond's premiership than there was under Jack McConnell's.Right...and the explanation?
Data released by Holyrood's Freedom of Information Unit following an FoI request shows that between 2006/7 and 2008/9 the additional payments made to staff directly involved in the work of ministers rose by 12.5%, from £664,256 to £747,186.
The cumulative three-year total of these on-call allowances and overtime payments, which relate to the three areas of work - the government car service (GCS), communications and ministerial private offices (MPO) - cost taxpayers more than £2m.
The Scottish Government put the rise in costs down to increased ministerial activity while a source close to the First Minister claimed it was due to SNP ministers "working far harder" than their Labour predecessors.Hmmm...doing what exactly, making sure Scotland's hedges are short, back and clipped?