When it comes to erecting fencing around your property in the UK, several factors must be taken into consideration before you start. One of the most common queries concerns the height restrictions imposed on fencing. Understanding the legalities surrounding this can help you avoid costly mistakes and potential disputes with neighbours or local councils. This guide aims to shed some light on how high your fencing can be in the UK, ensuring you stay within the law and maintain harmony in your neighbourhood.

The Basics

In general, planning permission is not required for a fence less than 2 metres (6 feet 6 inches) in height. However, this rule comes with its variances and exceptions, depending on the location of the fence, the type of property, and its proximity to roads.

Front Gardens

For fences situated in front gardens, the regulations are more stringent. If your property borders a road, footpath, or public highway, the maximum allowed height without planning permission drops to 1 metre (about 3 feet 3 inches). This is because taller structures could obstruct visibility for drivers and pedestrians, posing safety risks.

Rear and Side Gardens

In rear and side gardens, the standard 2-metre rule applies. However, if your property is in a conservation area or your home is listed, different rules may apply, and it's always best to check with your local planning authority before proceeding.

Additional Restrictions

  • Height Increases: If you're planning to raise the height of an existing fence, even if it's within the 2-metre limit, it's advisable to check with your local planning department. This is particularly relevant if the changes could impact your neighbours’ light or privacy.
  • Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas: Special rules apply to listed buildings and properties in conservation areas. Often, any changes to boundaries, including fences, require specific permissions to preserve the character of the area.
  • Deeds and Covenants: Beyond government regulations, your property deeds might include covenants that restrict fencing height or style, regardless of planning laws. Always check your property’s deeds for any such limitations.

Planning Permission

If your desired fence height exceeds these limits, you'll need to apply for planning permission from your local council. This process involves submitting detailed plans and justifications for the higher structure. Approval is not guaranteed, as considerations will include potential impacts on neighbours and the local environment.

Reasons for Denial

Common reasons for the denial of planning permission for tall fences include:

  • Loss of light or privacy for neighbours
  • Visual intrusion, affecting the character of the neighbourhood
  • Safety concerns, particularly in relation to road use

Best Practices

  • Neighbour Consideration: Before erecting or altering a fence, consider discussing your plans with your neighbours. This can help avoid disputes and ensure that your project does not negatively impact them.
  • Professional Advice: For complex situations, or if you're unsure about regulations, seeking advice from a professional planner or solicitor can be invaluable.
  • Council Confirmation: Regulations can vary slightly between local councils, so getting confirmation from your local planning authority is a crucial step before you start building.


Erecting a fence within the stipulated height restrictions can save you a great deal of time and potential legal trouble. Whether you’re looking for privacy, security, or merely to delineate your property, understanding and adhering to these guidelines is essential. Always remember to double-check with your local planning authority if you’re in any doubt; this guide is a comprehensive overview, but local details can and do vary. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your fencing not only serves its purpose but also contributes positively to your home and neighbourhood.