Are electric fences legal in residential areas- What you need to know

This depends on where you live and what you mean by “high voltage electric fence”.

Electric fences  to keep animals in or out of an area are common around regional areas in Australia. These are high voltage but designed to shock something without harming it.

If you live in an urban area, then you are subject to the local laws zoning laws. 

These laws vary greatly and mainly depend on what problems the area as seen with fences in the past.

  • If no resident has complained about electric fences, then there may not be any rules against them.
  • If someone put up a fence to zap their neighbours children, thirty years ago, then expect to find some ordnance prohibiting putting up an electric fence
  • If you are thinking about putting up a lethal electric fence, it would again depend on the location. If you reside in a mountain fortress with a 12 ft wall around the compound, then no one is likely to care if you string a wire on top with zaps and sizzles running through i


The installation of electric fencing in gardens is not always well received by the community, particularly among neighbours who have children or animals. 

“Is it legal to have electric fencing in a garden?” is a question we are asked on a frequent basis both online and in our retail location.

As a result, whether you are considering building a chain link fence or you live in close proximity to one (for example, in a residential neighbourhood or near farmland), we have prepared some valuable information for you.

Important Points to Keep in Mind

An electric fence installed along a roadway or in a residential area where it is in close proximity to the general public must be accompanied by a number of signs alerting people to the presence of such a fence. 

These signs must be put along the perimeter of the fence at or near eye level.
Electricity and communication lines should not be crossed by the cables and connecting leads used to connect them together.

If you’re planning to build an electric fence in your backyard, you should first do a risk assessment, which should include considering whether there is an alternative.

Select high-quality components and ensure that they are correctly placed. Modern fencing is extremely dependable, but improper installation might result in issues.

An energiser should not be used to electrify razor blades or barbed wire.

The risk of becoming caught in electric fencing should not be posed to either animals or people.

Any linked lines that run beneath the ground surface should be encased in insulated tubing, and the earth electrode of your energiser should be at least a metre deep in the ground surface.

When earth stakes are planted in land that contains a lot of stones and rubble (for example, near building foundations), or in ground near a tree, they should be removed. In addition, dry soil has an impact on conductivity and the performance of your fence system.

The distance between your energiser and earth stake and any other power supply system must be at least 10 metres.

Earth stakes must be placed at least ten metres away from buried communication lines, mains earth systems, and water pipes in order to be effective.

Furthermore, if your yard borders a bridle path or area that is commonly used by horses, you should review the British Horse Society’s recommendations for electric fencing.

Get your electric fencing and accessories from Knight Fencing as soon as possible.

Electric fence general regulations for Australia

As an Instance, information about rules, general guidelines, or requirements for the safe installation and operation of an electric fence in Australia may be bundled with an electric fence energiser- We have extracted some in formation  from Nemtek Australia’s Nemtek Instruction Manual.

  • Electric fences shall be installed and operated so that they cause no electrical hazard to persons, animals or their surroundings.
  •  Electric fence constructions which are likely to lead to the entanglement of animals or persons shall be avoided.
  •  An electric fence shall not be supplied from two different energizers or from independent fence circuits of the same energizer.
  •  For any two different electric fences, each supplied from a different energizer with independent timing, the distance between the wires of the two electric fences shall be at least 2.5m. If this gap is to be closed, this shall be affected by means of electrically non conductive material or an isolated metal barrier.
  •  Barbed wire or razor wire shall not be electrified by an energizer. 

Electric fences and their ancillary equipment shall be installed, operated and maintained in a manner that minimizes danger to persons, and reduces the risk of persons receiving an electric shock unless they attempt to penetrate the physical barrier, or are in a secure area without authority. 

Exposed conductive parts of the physical barrier shall be effectively earthed.
A spacing of 2.5m shall be maintained between non insulated electric fence conductors or non insulated connecting leads supplied from different energizers. 

This spacing may be less where conductors or connecting leads are covered by insulating sleeving, or consist of insulated cables, rated to at least 10kV.

This requirement need not apply where the separately energized conductors are separated by a physical barrier, which does not have any openings greater than 50mm. 

A vertical separation of not less than 2m shall be maintained between pulsed conductors fed from different energizers.

Ensure that all ancillary equipment connected to the electric fence circuit provides a degree of isolation between the fence circuit and the supply mains equivalent to that provided by the energizer. 

Protection from the weather shall be provided to the ancillary equipment unless this equipment is certified by the manufacturer as being suitable for use outdoors, and is of a type with a minimum degree of protection IPx4.

Connecting leads that are run inside buildings shall be effectively insulated from the earthed structural parts of the building. 

This may be achieved by using insulated high voltage cable.
Connecting leads that are run underground shall be run in a conduit of insulating material or else insulated high voltage cable shall be used. Care shall be taken to avoid damage to the connecting leads due to external factors.Connecting leads shall not be installed in the same conduit as the mains supply wiring, communication cables or data cables.  

Electric fence Connecting Leads

Electric fence connecting leads that are located inside buildings must be effectively insulated from the earthed structural sections of the building—for example, by using high voltage insulated cable that is suitable for the application. It is critical to ensure that all metal components of a building are properly earthed at all times.

Underground electric fence connecting leads must be routed via adequate conduit made of insulating material or high voltage cable if high voltage cable is to be utilised. It is necessary to take precautions to guarantee that the impacts of animal hooves or vehicle wheels (for example, a tractor) sinking into the ground do not cause harm to the connecting connections.

The connecting leads for an electric fence must not be located in the same conduit as the main power supply wiring, communication cables, or data cables. Exception:

Electric fence connecting leads and wires built near an overhead power line must not be higher than 3 metres above the ground in order to avoid interference with the line. For power lines operating at nominal voltages not exceeding 1000V, this height applies on either side of the orthogonal projection of the outermost conductors of the power line on the ground surface for a distance of ;- – 2 metres.

• 15 metres for power lines with nominal voltages more than 1000 volts;

Electric fences and overhead power cables

If at all feasible, avoid crossing across overhead power lines if at all possible. If such a crossing cannot be avoided, it must be constructed beneath the power line and as close to the line as practicable at right angles to it, as described above.

It is not permissible to instal electric fence connecting leads and wires in close proximity to an above power line unless the clearances specified in the table above are met.

Electric fence connecting leads and wires built near an overhead power line must not be higher than 3 metres above the ground in order to avoid interference with the line. For power lines operating at nominal voltages not exceeding 1000V, this height applies on either side of the orthogonal projection of the outermost conductors of the power line on the ground surface for a distance of ;- – 2 metres.

• 15 metres for power lines with nominal voltages more than 1000 volts;

Electric fence for pets, birds and small animals

Pets, birds, and other small creatures can be safely contained by an electric fence.

When it comes to repelling birds, keeping household pets contained, or teaching animals such as cows, a low power energiser is all that is required to provide satisfactory and safe performance….

If you’re installing an electric fence to keep birds from roosting on your building, you must make sure that no electric fence wire is linked to the energiser’s ground electrode. 

A warning sign must be installed at any site where a person or group of people could gain access to the conductor’s workspace.

Electric fencing around public access areas

In the event that an electric fence crosses a public pathway, either a non-electrified gate must be built into the electric fence at that location, or a stile crossing must be provided. If there is a railway crossing, the neighbouring electrified wires must be marked with warning signs.

When a portion of an electric fence is built along the edge of a public road or route, it must be clearly marked with warning signs that are securely fixed to the fence posts or tightly clamped to the fence wires at regular intervals.

The warning sign must be at least 100mm by 200mm in size to be effective.
The warning sign’s background colour should be yellow on both sides. The text on the sign should be black. The text on the sign must be in black and must either be the symbol shown in Fig. 1 or the words – “WARNING – ELECTRIC FENCE.” The symbol shown in Fig. 1 must be used.

Warning Signs for Electric Fences

Any portion of an electric fence constructed along a public road or route must be clearly marked at regular intervals by prominently placed warning signs securely connected to the fence posts or firmly clamped to the fence wires.

The warning signs must be at least 100mm by 200mm in size. Both sides of the warning plate must have a yellow backdrop.

The plate’s inscription must be in black.

The warning sign should normally look like the illustration below. The inscription must be indelible, engraved on both sides of the warning plate, and at least 25mm in height.

For the information of emergency services, warning signs referring to chemical risks must be put at each gate, each access point, and at intervals of not more than 10m adjacent to each sign.

Warning signs shall be placed at; 

• each gate 

• each access point 

• intervals not exceeding 10m 

• adjacent to each sign relating to chemical hazards for the information of emergency services. 

Every Local Council Is Unique

Local authorities differ widely in their interpretation of what constitutes legal and safe use of an electric fence, but it usually comes down to what zone classification you are in, i.e. residential, commercial, or rural, and what public spaces directly surround the fence in question.

As an example, the Brisbane City Council of Queensland Australia’s “advice” on electric fencing is as follows:

Fencing that is powered by electricity

Electric fences must be separated from a publicly accessible area by a setback or physical barrier in all districts of Brisbane.

The usage of electric fences between privately held properties is not recommended by Brisbane City Council. Causing death or injury to individuals as a result of neglecting to maintain a safe environment on privately owned land may be deemed a criminal offence(Source)

 In many Council areas 

Electric fences are only allowed in these zones:
-Low Density Residential Zone
-Rural Residential Zone
-Cottage Rural Precinct or Park Living Precinct
-Rural Zone
-Farming Precinct

Neighbourly Disputes, Council and Electric Fences

If you are concerned about a neighbour using an electric fence near your fence line and believe it is unsafe, keep in mind that a properly erected and operated electric fence that meets Australian Standards is not dangerous to a healthy person or animal and, when used properly, has far more safety benefits than safety issues to be concerned about. 

If your concern is for sick, weak, or venerable animals or persons with heart issues, both parties should take additional precautions to prevent access to any potential hazard.


Nemtek Electric Fence Instruction Manual covers all the basic on how to set up an electric fence.The Downloadable PDF- Nemtek Instruction Manual

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About the Author: Hi! Thanks for reading My article, I hope you enjoyed it and helps make your Fence stronger and your garden grow greener.If you found this article helpful, please share it with a friend and spread the joy. Plant small. Grow big!

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