In general the decision to fence land rests with the owner and occupier of the land fronting onto the highway, although in most locations he will be liable in negligence if damage is caused by his animals straying onto the highway.
Hampshire County Council on the other hand has no general obligation to fence off its highways, although there is a power to fence highways in Section 80, as modified, of the Highways Act 1980. Any fencing along the boundaries of the highway is therefore generally the responsibility of the adjoining landowner/user, following any agreed maintenance period after installation on new schemes. In some circumstances, however, fencing for the protection of wildlife may remain the property of the County Council (i.e. adjacent to the A337 Lyndhurst-Brockenhurst-Lymington and adjacent to the A35 Lyndhurst-Goose Green-County boundary, New Forest).
Fences may be installed by the Highway Authority for the protection of drivers and/or pedestrians either by segregation and the channeling of pedestrians to a safe crossing point or by deflecting vehicles back onto the carriageway. Fences may also be used to define the edge of carriageway and/or the boundary of an adjacent property owner’s land. Fences covered under this policy include Road restraint systems, pedestrian guard rail, highway owned boundary fences , walls, anti glare screen fences and environmental barriers.
In areas where hunts occur, the County Council normally permits the person responsible for the hunt to attach wire mesh additions to the usual type of wooden post and rail fence to help keep foxes and hounds off the highway. Maintenance of such additions is entirely a matter for those persons. Any serious breaks or defects in such additions, encountered in the course of inspections, should be brought to the attention of persons responsible for the hunt.
Fences designed for other special purposes, such as security of goods or the protection of traffic from sporting activities and installed by the owners on land adjoining the highway boundary, remain their responsibility, but any serious defects should be drawn to the attention of the owner.
2.1 The County Council shall ensure that all fencing owned by the highway authority is inspected in accordance with the Inspections Policy. Specific inspections shall be carried out on road restraint systems annually.
2.2 Tensioning shall be carried out on tensioned road restraint systems every two years
2.3 Where remedial works have been identified to any fencing owned by the highway authority, these shall be prioritised according to the level of risk for repair.
2.4 Where remedial works have been identified to any fencing not owned by the highway authority, these shall be referred to the owner under the Procedure Standards Letters ‘land adjoining street to be fenced to avoid annoyance’.
2.5 The County Council shall clean and paint all steel fences/railings as required.
2.6 All timber products should be from managed forests or sustainable woodland.
2.7 The County Council shall clean all chevron markings on safety barriers in accordance with the Maintenance of Non-Illuminated Traffic Signs Policy.
2.8 Damaged pedestrian safety fences and guard rails should be treated as Category 1 defects and be made safe within 24 hours unless the damage is superficial with no loss of integrity of the fence or barrier.
Version No: 1.1
Effective from: 14/10/2010
If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.