Q: The rent review in my lease allows me to choose whether to refer any dispute to an arbitrator or an expert. What are the differences between the two and which should I choose?

A: This is a typical quandary for landlords. The answer to the question will depend on the facts and on what you are seeking to achieve. For example, where not much money is at stake, an expert might be the better option. The table below sets out the main differences:

Click here to view table.

Q: I am redeveloping a farm site. As part of the development, I need to take up the hedgerow on one corner of the site. Do I need any local authority consents for that?

A: Yes, if the hedgerow is classed as a “protected hedgerow” for the purposes of the Hedgerows Regulations 1997. A hedgerow will be protected if it has a continuous length of more than 20m and grows in or by common land, protected land or land used for agriculture, forestry or the breeding or keeping of horses, ponies or donkeys.

To remove a protected hedgerow, you must first serve a “hedgerow removal notice” under paragraph 5 of the Regulations, specifying the reason for the removal and giving evidence of the date of planting (including a plan showing any evidence of parts of the hedgerow that are less than 30 years old).

The local authority then has 42 days to object to the removal of the hedgerow. If it does not, you can then remove it, provided you do so within two years of the date of the notice.

If the local authority decides that the protected hedgerow is also an “important hedgerow” as defined by the Regulations, it may serve a “hedgerow retention notice” to prohibit the removal of the hedgerow. The criteria that make a protected hedgerow an important hedgerow are set out in Schedule 1 of the Regulations. They include historic and archaeological importance – for example, where the hedgerow has historically marked a parish boundary – and importance to the local wildlife or landscape.