A tall fence offers more security and privacy than a short one. However, the taller a fence gets, the less structurally secure it becomes. Therefore, it endangers you and your property. It could also obstruct view, sunlight and airflow, becoming a nuisance. Finally, this doesn’t just concern you, the owner. It also affects your neighbour and his property.
It’s for reasons like this that the authorities created rules for maximum fence height. In the UK, the regulation says 2 metres (6.6 feet). That’s how tall a fence can be except with planning permission. However, the rules may vary. Sometimes, the maximum fence height is 1 metre (3.3 feet).
So, keep reading if you want to know more and find answers to the following questions.
- What is the authorised maximum height of any fence (UK)?
- What is the authorised maximum fence height between neighbours (UK)?
- How high can a garden fence be (UK)?
- What happens if you build a fence taller than the authorised maximum fence height (UK)?
- How can I break the maximum fence height without getting in trouble?
- What are my options if my neighbour’s fence is too high (UK)?
What is the maximum fence height (UK)?
Technically, the maximum fence height is 2 metres (6.6 feet), except with planning permission. However, the authorised maximum height for fences that front a public footpath, road, or highway is 1 metre (3.3 inches). Once again, except with planning permission.
This means that front fences, which often front roads, footpaths and highways, are only allowed to reach a height of 1 metre (3.3 feet). Meanwhile, back and garden fences can be 2 metres (6.6 feet) high.
The maximum fence height accounts for every part of the fence above ground level, including the trellis toppers. So, don’t make the mistake of assuming that toppers are exempted.
What happens if your fence is too tall and you don’t have planning permission?
Then you could get in trouble with the authorities at your local council. They will issue an enforcement order asking you to take down the fence. They can do this even four years after you originally installed the fence.
You probably won’t face other fines or issues. However, consider the amount of time, money and effort it costs to install a fence only for the government to make you demolish it.
How to get planning permission for a high fence
Once again, you need planning permission to build a fence taller than the authorised maximum fence height. So here is how to get it. Simply visit the building control department of your local council. They will work you through the entire process. It costs about £200.
However, you can also apply online. Just visit the official website, fill out the forms and pay. The website might still be helpful even if you intend to visit the office in person. You can learn more about the application process. You can also download and fill out the form before going there.
How to beat the maximum fence height without planning permission
If you want a high fence that doesn’t require planning permission, go for hedges. They are an excellent alternative to traditional fencing. Hedges offer decent security, privacy, and pretty cool aesthetics. Plus, there are no height restrictions. So, you can make your boundary hedges as tall as you like.
Of course, there will also be issues if the hedges are too tall. However, the government doesn’t restrict hedge height. If your boundary hedges are too tall, your main problems will be maintenance-related and safety issues or pissed neighbours. Therefore, boundary hedges could be the perfect fit for you. They will help you get around the maximum fence height regulation.
They also make pretty secure, private and aesthetically pleasing boundaries. Plus, they attract wildlife that will benefit your garden’s ecosystem and entire property. The only issue is that they are higher maintenance than regular fences. But you can find some low-maintenance options.
How to deal with fencing problems between neighbours
First of all, the rules are the same for fences between neighbours. The maximum fence height between neighbours is also 2 metres (6.6 feet) except with planning permission.
However, even if you have planning permission, your neighbour can still complain to the authorities. Likewise, you have the same right. In fact, you (or your neighbour) get to make these complaints before the authorities approve the planning permission. After all, the state of the fence concerns both properties.
However, it is usually easier and better to resolve these conflicts over coffee. So, approach your neighbour. Talk to him before involving the authorities. Try to resolve issues amicably and stay on good terms.
There is something else you should do before approaching the neighbour. Confirm who owns the fence or the proposed site for it. With border fences, it is easy to mix these things up. So check your property deeds. If that is unavailable, check the property plan instead. You can get it from the Land registry. You can get the plan of the neighbour’s property there too.
Do that first before trying to build or demolish a fence. Do it even before you approach the neighbour about a border fence dispute. Ownership mistakes are common with border fences. Don’t make a move until you have cleared it up. If the fence is yours, the neighbour can only complain to you or the authorities. He doesn’t have rights.
However, for shared fences, you both have rights and responsibilities. The fence is protected by the party wall agreement. Therefore, one party can’t make significant changes without the other party’s approval.
Other details you should know about fences?
Before you leave, here are a few more details you need to know about installing and demolishing fences.
- For rental properties, you need to get the landowner’s or homeowner’s permission: You can’t build, demolish or modify a fence without the owner’s permission.
- You need other permits if the building is listed or in a conservation area. In such cases, you need listed building consent and building regulations to make structural changes.
- Your local council may have its own maximum fence height and other fencing regulations. Therefore, check in with the local authorities before building or putting down a fence. Despite our expertise and good intentions, only your local council can provide definite answers.
In summary, the maximum fence height (UK) is 2 metres (6.6 feet) or 1 metre (3.3 feet) for fences fronting roads, pathways and highways. You must get planning permission to build a higher fence, or the authorities could make you demolish it. That is the rule for every part of the United Kingdom. However, the regulations may differ slightly in your location. So, check with your local council.
Whatever they say, you can get around these restrictions by getting the right permits or installing a border hedge instead. However, neither is the perfect solution. Because the taller a fence is, the less secure it becomes. It also becomes a nuisance by blocking light, view and airflow. This could affect your garden and cause issues with neighbours.