The Use of Barbed Wire
Barbed wire may be used to defend your property, but the law puts
certain restrictions on its use.
Section 164 Highways Act 1980, says that where, on land adjoining a
highway, there is a fence made with barbed wire in or on it and the
wire is a nuisance to the highway, a notice may be issued by the Local
Authority for the nuisance to be removed.
Being a nuisance means that it is likely to cause injury to people
or animals using the highway.
In practice, most Local Authority Highways Departments usually
consider that barbed wire lower than eight feet from the ground could
be a nuisance to highway users.
The term "Barbed Wire" means anything with spikes or
jagged projections, so would also include the wooden carpet gripper
strips which have nails sticking up through the wood.
If the barbed wire is not adjoining the highway and an injury
results, you could still be faced with a claim for damages under the
Occupier Liability Acts. Occupiers of premises have a duty of care, to
people entering or using their premises. This duty even extends to
trespassers, although it is not as extensive as it is to people
lawfully using or visiting the premises. So a burglar, who could not
be aware that barbed wire was on top of a fence and injured himself on
it, could have a claim against you despite the fact that he was a
If you wish to have some sort of barbed wire protecting your
property, it may be a good idea to check with your home insurance
company that they would cover you in the event of a person claiming
for an injury caused. It is for these reasons that most residents
prefer to use Mother Nature's own barbed wire, a prickly bush,
climbing rose or similar. A separate Fact Sheet gives