The Legal Height of Boundary Fences in the UK: A Quick Guide

The Legal Height of Boundary Fences in the UK: A Quick Guide To 7
Understanding the Legal Height of Boundary Fences in the UK: Legislation, Types, and Local Council Laws

Introduction: When it comes to boundary fences in the UK, it is crucial to understand the legal height restrictions, legislation, types of fences, and local council laws and bylaws. This blog post offers an in-depth look at these key points to help you navigate the legalities surrounding boundary fences in the UK.

Legislation: The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 The primary legislation governing the height of boundary fences in the UK is the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Under this Act, fences, walls, and gates are considered “permitted development” and do not require planning permission as long as they meet specific height limits and other criteria.

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Height Restrictions According to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the general height limit for boundary fences is as follows:

a) Front boundary: If a fence is next to a highway (including a footpath) used by vehicles, its maximum height is 1 metre (about 3.3 feet).

b) Other boundaries: For fences not next to a highway, the maximum height is 2 metres (about 6.6 feet).

However, these height restrictions can be influenced by additional factors, such as conservation areas, listed buildings, and local council bylaws.

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  1. Types of Fences There are various types of fences that can be used as boundary fences, including
a) Wooden Fences: These are the most common type of boundary fence in the UK. They include close board fencing, lap panel fencing, and picket fencing. Each type has its own aesthetic and functional advantages.

b) Metal Fences: Metal fences, such as wrought iron, steel, and aluminum, are strong, durable, and low-maintenance options. They can be designed to suit various styles and offer a higher level of security compared to wooden fences.

c) Chain-link Fences: These fences are cost-effective, easy to install, and offer excellent visibility. However, they may not be as visually appealing as other types of fences and may not be suitable for all properties.

d) Composite Fences: Made from a mix of wood and plastic, composite fences are an environmentally friendly option. They require low maintenance, are resistant to rot and insects, and offer a similar appearance to wooden fences.

  1. Local Council Laws and Bylaws While the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides general guidelines, local councils may have specific laws and bylaws regarding fence heights and types. These can include additional height restrictions or requirements for specific fence materials, designs, or colours. It is essential to consult your local council before erecting a boundary fence to ensure compliance with local regulations.

  2. Party Wall Act 1996 If your proposed boundary fence is located on or near the boundary line of your property, you may also need to consider the Party Wall Act

  1. This Act governs the rights and responsibilities of property owners when constructing, altering, or maintaining walls, fences, and other structures that straddle the boundary between two properties. You may need to obtain consent from your neighbour before erecting a new fence or making changes to an existing one.

  2. Resolving Disputes Disputes over boundary fences can arise due to height, location, or maintenance issues. If you find yourself in a disagreement with your neighbour, it is essential to first try and resolve the matter amicably through discussion and negotiation. If this fails, you can consider mediation or legal action as a last resort.

The Legal Height of Boundary Fences in the UK: A Quick Guide To 8


Understanding the legal height of boundary fences in the UK is crucial for property owners looking to erect or modify a fence. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990, local council laws and bylaws, and the Party Wall Act 1996 are important pieces of legislation that can impact fence height and other requirements. Always consult your local council and consider your neighbours’ rights before undertaking any fence-related projects. By staying informed and following these guidelines, you can ensure a compliant and harmonious environment for all parties involved.



FAQs about Boundary Fence Laws in the UK

  1. Q: Do I need planning permission for a fence that exceeds the height limit set by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990? A: Yes, if your proposed fence exceeds the general height restrictions, you will need to apply for planning permission from your local council. It is essential to consult your local council’s planning department for guidance on the application process and any additional requirements.

  2. Q: Are there any exceptions to the height restrictions for fences in the UK? A: Some exceptions may apply depending on your property’s location or specific circumstances. For instance, if your property is in a conservation area or listed building, you may need to obtain additional permissions or adhere to more stringent height restrictions. Additionally, local council bylaws may impose different height limits or requirements.

  3. Q: Can I trim my neighbour’s overhanging branches if they are affecting my fence? A: Yes, you are allowed to trim any overhanging branches that encroach onto your property. However, it is advisable to inform your neighbour before doing so to avoid any potential disputes. Be sure to only trim branches up to your property line and not to cause unnecessary damage to your neighbour’s tree.

  4. Q: Who is responsible for maintaining a boundary fence? A: The responsibility for maintaining a boundary fence typically depends on the agreement between the property owners. If there is no clear agreement, it is generally assumed that each property owner is responsible for the maintenance of the fence on their side. It is crucial to communicate with your neighbour and establish a mutual understanding regarding fence maintenance.


Useful Links:

  1. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990:
  2. The Party Wall Act 1996:
  3. Planning Portal – Fences, Gates, and Garden Walls:
  4. Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) – Boundary Dispute Guidance:
  5. Citizens Advice – Dealing with neighbour disputes:

These links provide valuable information about boundary fence laws, the planning permission process, and resolving disputes in the UK. By referring to these resources and consulting your local council, you can ensure compliance with all relevant regulations and maintain positive relations with your neighbours.


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