In the UK, property boundaries and garden fences are often the root of disputes between neighbours. Knowing your rights concerning boundary features can help prevent or resolve these conflicts. This comprehensive guide will explore whether your neighbour can legally erect a 7-foot fence and what you can do if this affects you.

1. Understanding Fence Height Regulations

In the UK, planning permission is generally required if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall, or gate and it exceeds 2 metres (around 6.5 feet) in height. This measurement is taken from the ground level on which the structure stands. Should the ground be uneven, the Act specifies that the height is determined based on the highest point adjacent to the fence.

Special Circumstances:

  • Listed Buildings: If your property is a listed building, or adjacent to one, any height of fence may require planning permission.
  • Designated Areas: In areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas, or if your house is within a World Heritage Site, restrictions can be tighter.

Therefore, if your neighbour intends to put up a 7-foot fence, they will likely need planning permission to proceed legally.

2. What You Can Do

If the Fence is Already Built:

  • Contact Your Local Council: If your neighbour has erected a fence higher than 2 metres without obtaining planning permission, you can contact your local council. They have the authority to investigate and enforce alteration or removal if the structure violates planning regulations.
  • Dialogue with Your Neighbour: It may be beneficial to discuss the issue with your neighbour directly before taking formal action. They might not be aware of the legal restrictions.

If You're Planning to Build a Fence:

  • Seek Permission: To avoid any legal issues, it’s advisable to apply for planning permission if you plan to erect a boundary structure exceeding the relevant height limits.
  • Consider the Impact: Assess how the structure might affect your neighbours. A compromise on the height or design could maintain good relations and avoid disputes.

3. Other Considerations

Right to Light:

A common concern is that a tall fence may block light. The "right to light" is a complex legal area in the UK. If you believe your right to light is being infringed upon by a new structure, seeking legal advice is recommended.

Boundary Disputes:

Accurately determining the boundary between properties can be challenging. If the erection of a fence leads to a dispute over the location of a boundary, you may need to consult your property's deed or obtain a professional survey.

4. Preventive Measures

  • Boundary Agreement: Creating a written agreement with your neighbour regarding the boundary and any shared structures can prevent future disputes.
  • Community Mediation: If a disagreement arises, community mediation services can offer a neutral space to find a resolution agreeable to both parties.


While enhancing privacy and security around one’s property is understandable, it’s crucial to comply with UK planning permissions to avoid potential disputes with neighbours. Before your neighbour proceeds with installing a 7-foot fence, they should check if planning permission is required. Should you find yourself affected by such a development, remember, there are steps you can take to address the situation amicably and legally. Remember, maintaining open and friendly communication with your neighbours can often be the most straightforward solution to resolving boundary and fence height issues.