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EDITIONS
Thursday, 21 November, 2002, 11:55 GMT
Monster hedges may face axe
Leylandii
Leylandii - the monster hedge
An attempt to limit the height allowed for hedges looks likely to be considered by the House of Commons.

Labour MP Mark Todd, who came first in an annual ballot giving backbench MPs the chance to introduce new laws, says it is an issue often raised by his constituents.

Earlier this year a plea to outlaw huge hedges was heard by the Scottish Parliament.

An Angus couple took a petition to Holyrood calling for the height of hedges, such as Leylandii fir, to be restricted by law.

James and Pamela McDougall told MSPs that the problem "blighted the lives of many people" and often led to depression, anxiety and stress for householders.

Travellers?

At Westminster there are two types of Private Members' Bill - one that allows MPs to raise issues that are important to them but has no chance of becoming law, and one that stands a good chance of becoming law.

Mr Todd, the MP for South Derbyshire, says his will be the latter, and is considering several issues that come up frequently in his surgeries, including "high hedges" and illegal camping by travellers.

The annual ballot of names sees 20 MPs drawn out of a hat.

In previous years those drawn have brought in bill's such as tackling hunting with dogs.

Anti-smoking

Often those drawn at random have no idea yet what their bill will be about, and lobby groups have the job of trying to get their cause taken up.

It is further complicated by the fact that only the top two or three drawn have enough time allowed them on the Commons to stand a chance of getting their bills passed.

Among lobby groups hoping to find an MP to back their cause is the ASH anti-smoking campaign which wants someone to bring in a bill to ban smoking in all public places.

There are 11 other Labour MPs on the list, 7 Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat.

The list in full - with those at the top having the best chance of taking a bill all the way through to law:

1. Mark Todd
2. David Cairns
3. Bill Tynan
4. Edward Garnier
5. Joan Ruddock
6. Brian White
7. Ann Clwyd
8. Archie Norman
9. Frank Roy
10. Keith Simpson
11. Stephen Mccabe
12. Chris Mole
13. John Greenway
14. Steve Pound
15. John Bercow
16. Richard Allen
17. Brian Iddon
18. Bridget Prentice
19. Stephen O'Brien
20. Hugh Robertson


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11 Aug 00 | UK
10 Dec 98 | Politics
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