What are the Legal Requirements of Electric Fencing?

Legal requirements of electric fencing exist to ensure the safety of the public. Laws have been created to minimise the risk of any person receiving a shock from an electric fence, whether that be across a public right of way or bordering a public right of way.

Electric fencing serves many different purposes, including containing livestock in a field, warning away predators, and stopping domestic animals like dogs from escaping the garden.

Rules & Regulations

Below are a few examples of regulations that must be adhered to, in order to keep animals and the public safe from harm.


  • There are often regulations on electric fences near roadways and in suburban areas, in order to protect the public. Multiple warning signs are required to be placed along the fencing and situated at eye level.
  • Electric fence systems should not end up in entanglement of animals or people, and barbed or razor wire should not be electrified by an energiser.
  • Apart from low output battery operated energisers, the energiser earth electrode should penetrate the ground to a depth of at least 1m. Leads that are connected and running underground need to be run in a tube of insulating material.
  • Connecting leads and electric fence wires should not cross above overhead power or communication lines.
  • A space of 10m needs to be kept between the energiser, earth spike and any other earthing system, such as the power supply system.
  • Commercial properties and businesses who use electric security fencing need to consider where they will provide access for emergency services to enter the fence perimeter when required.
  • Earth stakes should be put up at least 10 metres away from any buried telephone lines, mains earth system or water pipes. The current could be picked up and deliver a shock to taps and water tanks or cause interference with tvs, phones or radios.

Top Tip: Use only high-quality insulators and connectors. Poor quality equipment will degrade the performance of the fence or cause it to fail completely, particularly when using high powered energisers.


Bridleway Laws

The British Horse Society has offered expert advice on electric fencing for bridleways. Any new fencing, whether it be permanent or temporary, on registered common land needs the permission of the Secretary of State. The only exception to this rule is temporary fencing in a limited number of specified circumstances.

The Society has also make recommendations for what to consider before installing electric fencing. They suggest that the landowner or occupier should carry out a risk assessment before putting up any electric fencing alongside a road or other public route open to ridden horses.

The risk assessment should take into account the physical nature of the way as well as the local circumstances, and consider alternatives to electric fencing for the route.

For more information, visit the official website.

Electric Fencing for all Occasions

Electric fencing is an extremely useful system in many different cases, such as for security and controlling livestock. When used responsibly in these cases, it can offer benefits that other fencing systems can not. To see our full range of electric fencing, including fence posts, insulators, and energisers, visit our Electric Fencing page.

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21 Mar 16