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Flying a flag at home – navigating rules, regulations and permissions

2nd Jan 2024
By sarah-jane grainger |
Advice | Flags |

Flying a flag at home is a time-honoured tradition. It allows individuals to express their patriotism, support a cause, or showcase personal identity. However, before hoisting that flag, it’s essential to be aware of the rules, regulations and permissions around flag display. There are several guidelines, some general and others very specific, that may apply to flying a flag on your property. Many are explained in government documents.

The government actually wants to see more flags flown, particularly the Union Flag, as it is a symbol of national unity and pride. Recently, guidance has been issued encouraging the flying of the Union Flag on all UK government buildings throughout the year. It covers, amongst other things, how the flag should be flown alongside other national and local flags.

The law – what does it say?

Generally, you are absolutely allowed to fly a flag in your garden at home. However, there are limits to what you can and can’t do. It is essential that your flag meets certain standard guidelines. These are laws set out by the government in the towns and planning conditions. Some of these are listed below:

  • Permission should have been granted to fly the flag where necessary
  • The flag should not pose a danger to public transport. For example it should not obstruct signs for roads, railways, rivers or aircraft
  • The flag should be kept in a good and safe condition
  • Removal of old flags should be done so carefully when required

Only certain types of flag can be flown at your home. Some don’t need permission of any kind, some don’t need planning permission providing they meet certain restrictions, and others do need consent. You may face a fine if you’re found to be flying one that does need planning permission to be granted, so make sure you know the rules beforehand!

Flagpole in a garden complying with rules, regulations and permissions

What type of flag can I fly on my house without consent?

The following is a list of the types of flag that do not require any consent:

  • A country’s national flag, merchant flag or civil air ensign.
  • The Commonwealth flag or United Nations flag
  • The flag of any island, county, parish, city, town or village in the UK
  • The flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, Lincolnshire, Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the UK
  • Flags of St David’s or St Patrick’s
  • His Majesty’s forces flag
  • Armed Forces Day flag

Flags that comply with certain restrictions

Some types of flag don’t necessarily need planning permission. They must, however comply with specific restrictions relating to the size of the flag or the characters printed on it, the number of flags, and where they are to be placed. Providing these restrictions are met, the following flags can be flown without consent:

  • House flag. This can be used to display the name, logo or trademark of a firm, or can be used to highlight an event taking place in the building
  • A sports club flag, providing there are no sponsorship logos
  • The Rainbow Flag, or Pride flag
  • Flags for award schemes, such as Eco-Schools and Investors in People
  • The NHS flag
  • Certain environmental awards flags

pride flag

Overall, the restrictions on flying this category of flag mostly relate to where the flagpole is located on a building or within the grounds of a building.

Which flags require permissions to be given?

If the flag you’re wanting to fly does not fall into either of the categories above, it’s likely that you’ll need permission from the local planning authorities before you can go ahead. More detailed flag flying information can be found on the government website.


Flying a flag at home is a wonderful way to express your identity and values. By understanding and adhering to local regulations, national guidelines, and being considerate of your neighbours, you can proudly display your flag while contributing to a harmonious community atmosphere. Always remember, responsible flag etiquette reflects positively on both individual homeowners and the community as a whole.

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