Farmers discuss legality of barbed wire next to a public footpath

A hot topic that has puzzled quite a few of our regular forum users is whether you can use barbed wire alongside public paths.

The question was originally posed by Dave 3, who said he wanted to know if any farmers had been asked to remove barbed wire from next to a public path because it posed a danger to the public.

He quoted: “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.”

Taff replied that he had been advised by the council that it was acceptable to use barbed wire, as long as it was fixed on the back of the post and not on the front of the post facing the highway.

But Dick confirmed that in his case it had been an issue. “The local council where I live are most upset if you use barbed wire adjacent to the highways or footpaths and have made me remove it and use plain wire,” he said.

After a long discussion Jacobus concluded: “The point is that provided your barbed wire fences are not so close to the path that walkers could not reasonably pass along without coming into contact with them then they are not illegal.  If walkers stray from the path then they are not using the path lawfully and s.164 does not apply.”

An alternative solution was put forward by townie who said he had double fenced all round and planted hedges on low banks in between the fences. This meant that “ramblers now tread through green-walled corridors”.

What do you think? Post your views on our forum.