The legal height of a fence between neighbours is a topic that often arises between property owners in the United Kingdom. Given that fences serve as dividing lines between homes, they can significantly impact privacy, security of both parties, and the aesthetic appeal of a property. In this article, we will explore the topic of fence height regulations between neighbours in the UK and discuss pertinent examples, considerations, and complexities for property owners to keep in mind.

Overview: Height Regulations and Property Boundaries

Understanding legal height restrictions for fences between neighbours is important as it helps avoid potential disputes and possible complications with local authorities. To offer a general perspective, the typical height limit for a residential fence in the UK ranges from 1 metre to 2 metres, depending on the property's location.

Fences at the Front of the Property

For fences that are situated alongside a public road or footpath, the general limit is set at 1 metre without requiring planning permission. This is established by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and can be found in Class A, Part 2, Schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO).

Fences at the Rear and Side of the Property

As for fences located at the rear or side of a property, the height limit is set at 2 metres without planning permission, as per the same legislation mentioned above. However, some properties may have unique locations, positions, or conservation requirements, which may increase or decrease these limits. In these cases, it is advised to consult with the local planning authority before undertaking any fencing projects.

Planning Permission: When to Apply

Should you wish to erect a fence that exceeds the aforementioned height limits, obtaining planning permission from your local planning authority is necessary. The authority will consider factors like visual impact, privacy, safety, and potential neighbour objections before granting or declining the application. It's essential to note that without proper planning permission, erecting a fence that surpasses the legal height puts you at risk of receiving an enforcement notice, which can lead to remedial action or removal of the fence.

Boundary Disputes

Boundary disputes between neighbours may arise when there are disagreements on the position, ownership, or height of the fence. It is advised to closely examine property deeds and legal documents. If the fence in question is part of a shared responsibility, discussing the matter with your neighbour and seeking a mutually beneficial solution is the recommended course of action. Professional mediation services or legal assistance can also be considered for addressing more complex disputes.

Case Study: Neighbour Relations and Fences

An elderly couple in Wales was reported to have come into conflict with their neighbours due to a 2.5-metre high fence they had built without planning permission. The couple felt that the fence was necessary to retain their privacy since the neighbours had built an extension with a window overlooking their garden. Eventually, they were required to apply for retrospective planning permission. This case demonstrates the importance of communication with neighbours and considering legal constraints before making significant modifications to fences and property boundaries.


In summary, understanding the legal height of a fence between neighbours in the UK is crucial for maintaining good neighbour relations and avoiding potential disputes. As a general guide, fences at the front of a property should be limited to 1 metre in height, while those to the rear and sides should not exceed 2 metres without seeking planning permission.