Fencing serves various purposes, from marking property boundaries to providing privacy and security for your home. However, the process of erecting a new fence or altering an existing one isn't always as straightforward as it might seem in the UK. One of the most common questions homeowners have is whether they need planning permission for fencing. 

Understanding Planning Permission

Planning permission is a legal process designed to guide development within the UK. It's important in ensuring that any modifications to buildings or land use are in harmony with their surroundings and comply with local development plans. When it comes to fencing, the need for planning permission depends on several factors, including the height and position of the proposed structure.

When Do You Need Planning Permission?

There are specific circumstances under which you will need to seek planning permission for your fencing project. Here are the most common scenarios:

Height Considerations

  • If the fence, gate, or garden wall is higher than 2 metres above the ground level, you'll likely need to apply for planning permission.
  • For any fencing adjacent to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway), the height limit is reduced to 1 metre before planning permission becomes necessary.

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

  • If your home is a listed building, or if it's located within a designated conservation area, additional restrictions apply. In these cases, even minor changes to fencing can require planning permission to preserve the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

Replacement Fencing

  • If you're replacing an existing fence that's already over 2 metres in height, you must ensure that the replacement does not exceed the height of what was previously there without obtaining planning permission.

Visibility at Junctions

  • Fences placed near road junctions must not obstruct the visibility for drivers. Specific guidelines dictate the maximum height allowed in such locations to ensure road safety.

When Planning Permission is Not Required

For many homeowners, erecting or replacing a fence will not necessitate planning permission, provided the project adheres to the guidelines mentioned above. This means that for most standard fencing projects that respect these height restrictions and positioning rules, you can proceed without seeking formal permission.

However, it's always advisable to check with your local council before commencing any work, as there may be local bylaws or other considerations that affect your specific situation. In some instances, other forms of consent (such as 'permitted development rights') may still allow you to carry out your project without needing a full planning application.

Seeking Advice and Consent

If you're unsure whether your fencing project requires planning permission, it's best to consult directly with your local planning authority (LPA). They can provide you with guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Additionally, for complex projects or those in sensitive areas, it might be worth seeking professional advice from a planning consultant or solicitor.


In summary, while many fencing projects in the UK can be undertaken without the need for planning permission, there are important exceptions based on height, location, and the type of property involved. By familiarising yourself with the relevant regulations and seeking advice when necessary, you can ensure that your fencing project complies with all legal requirements, avoiding any potential issues further down the line.

Remember, taking the time to understand these permissions before starting work not only helps protect the aesthetic coherence of your community but also saves you from possible legal and financial repercussions.