DALGETY Bay residents left in the dark by overgrown trees could soon see a 'glimmer of light through the branches'.

Ward councillor Dave Dempsey wants land owners to be billed by Fife Council for allowing perceived "public" space to become an eyesore.

He has welcomed a potential way of resolving problems with the areas of land that Fife Council doesn't own.

He said: "Once upon a time, the council looked after lots of areas of grass and woodland that it didn’t own, to the point where the public assumed the council was the owner.

"Much of that continues but some of the more complex work, especially on trees, stopped a while ago as budgets were squeezed. The work stopped but the trees kept growing, to the point where neighbouring gardens are in darkness and nothing grows there anymore.

"This is a particular problem in Dalgety Bay where areas like Longhill Park are privately owned. The council still cuts the grass but it won’t touch the trees unless there’s a clear and immediate danger to the public such as a branch hanging off."

The South and West Fife Area committee met earlier this month to discuss what steps can be taken to resolve the ongoing issues.

Cllr Dempsey had called on whether a by-law could be introduced requiring the owners to sort out the trees themselves.

He said: "We were told that that wouldn’t work but, “the council, as planning authority, has the power to serve on the owner of land a notice requiring the proper maintenance of land under section 179 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 if the amenity of the district is adversely affected by the condition of any land in their district. If the notice is not complied with, the Council can carry out the works and seek to recover the costs from the owner”.

"There’s no doubt in my mind that the amenity of Dalgety Bay is adversely affected and that it’s only going to get worse.

"The committee reckoned this was worth further investigation. It may come to nothing but, for the first time, there’s a glimmer of light through the branches."

Fellow Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay councillor Alice McGarry, convenor of the committee, is less positive about the situation.

Cllr McGarry said: "I don’t quite share Dave’s optimistic take on this. It is quite clear that the Town and Country Planning Act can only address issues of serious disamenity.

"In cases such as he identifies, it would need to be tested."