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Rules and regulations to consider when installing a flagpole in your garden

3rd Mar 2017
By sarah-jane grainger |
Advice | News |

Are you familiar with the laws surrounding the appropriate use of flags?

Firstly, in most cases, the flag you’re wanting to fly is probably well within the rules. However, there are certain circumstances where special permission is required. Before you set up a garden flagpole, brush up on your knowledge of the latest rules and regulations. This will ensure you aren’t breaking any laws.

There are some rules that apply to all flags. When you’re flying your flag, make sure you’re following the rules below:

  • Ensure the flag stays in a condition that does not impair the overall appearance of the site
  • Keep the flag in a safe condition
  • You must have the owner of the flag site’s permission
  • The flag should not obscure any official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs
  • The flag should be removed carefully where so required by the planning authority

Recent changes in required permissions

Recent changes mean that a wider range of national, sub-national, community and international flags no longer need permission to display. This means that you can fly this type of flag without contacting your local planning authority. That is, provided you’re not displaying any additional subject matter to the design of the flag (with the exception of a black mourning ribbon).

Flags that do not need permission to display include:

  • Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign
  • Flags of the Commonwealth, European Union, United Nations or other international organisations of which the United Kingdom is a member
  • The flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom
  • Any historic county flags within the United Kingdom, including Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire etc
  • The flag of Saint David
  • Saint Patrick’s flag
  • The flag of administrative areas within any country outside the United Kingdom
  • Her Majesty’s forces flags
  • The Armed Forces Day flag

No consent required

There are also some flags that do not require any consent provided you’re complying with restrictions:

  • A house flag can display the name, emblem, device or trademark of the building occupant. It can also refer to a specific event of limited duration that is taking place in the building from which the flag is flown
  • Any sports club, as long as the flag does not include sponsorship logos
  • The horizontal rainbow “Pride” flag
  • Specific award schemes (Eco-schools, Queens Award for Enterprise and Investors in People).

The biggest change brought about by the new regulations is that you may now have up to two flags within the grounds of a building. Previously the limit was one. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on the size of the flag. That said, the garden flagpole must not be more than 4.6 metres above ground level. Without planning consent, your local council may allow a larger pole, so you should check with them. Also, for more information read our blog on how to install a garden flagpole.

If the flag you’re wanting to display isn’t mentioned above, or if you’re unsure, contact your local planning authority. They can provide detailed advice.

Harrison Flagpoles have been manufacturing high quality flags and flagpoles for over 50 years. If you’ve checked the regulations and are ready to set up your own flag, view the wide variety we offer. You can also talk to our friendly team on 01325 390 195!

Leave a Reply

William Campbell Commented:

27/08/2022 @ 15:09

What is the maximum height for a portable flagpole in east Ayrshire please.

harr_flag_poles Replied:

30/08/2022 @ 15:07

If the flagpole is 4.6metres of smaller then you will not need permission. If you plan to install a taller flagpole then you must contact your local council. Many thanks

Ian Moffat Commented:

03/08/2022 @ 17:52

Why are St Patrick’s and St David’s flag listed but not St George’s (England’s patron saint)or St Andrew’s (Scotland’s patron saint)?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

05/08/2022 @ 14:29

They aren't listed individually as they come under Flags of the Commonwealth, hope this helps :)

Nigel Johnson Commented:

25/05/2022 @ 16:45

You state that a flagpole must NOT be more than 4.6 meters from ground level; we have a sloping garden which from the rear of the building rises up to the rear gate by I'd say about 3 ft (or nearly 1 meter) and obviously I would put my flagpole up at the end of the back garden so given the elevation rise, technically it could be greater than 4.6 meters given the rise in land.

harr_flag_poles Replied:

29/06/2022 @ 14:26

Hi Nigel, we would suggest speaking to your local council to get a definitive answer from them about this.

Allan Burns Commented:

07/05/2022 @ 2:08

When flying another countries flag in Scotland, should the Saltire take the top position on the pole, with the other country flag 12" below?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

28/06/2022 @ 12:18

This is correct Allan. The Saltire flag will take precedence on the flagpole over any other flag (and therefore will be higher up the flagpole), with the exception of the Union flag.

Leeanne Johnston Commented:

16/10/2021 @ 10:30

I think if people want to put a pole flag or flags up they can. My husband is American & am Scottish & am going to put both our flags up on poles just at the side of our house where it can be seen to.🙌 People are gonna talk they kinds people haven't got life's get your flags hung up ppz.

Mr Michael Freeman Commented:

09/10/2021 @ 21:02

Can I fly 3 different flags on the same flag pole

harr_flag_poles Replied:

29/06/2022 @ 15:06

Hi Michael, You are able to fly two different flags on the same pole, with 12" between them.

Jay Commented:

14/07/2021 @ 21:13

This is so amazing Thanks for all of the information We really love our garden flag and now that we can add another one , we may just might 🙂

Melanie Randall Commented:

17/06/2021 @ 21:44

I have had a 2foot by 3foot flag made with donkeys on in memory of my dad , is it ok to fly it in mum’s garden?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

29/06/2022 @ 15:12

Hi, We would suggest you check with your local council as to whether planning permission would be required for this flag, as it falls outside the 'no permission required' list.

William Lynch Commented:

07/06/2021 @ 19:18

Phoned the council they told me my flag pole cannot be over 3 meters high is this correct

harr_flag_poles Replied:

29/06/2022 @ 15:18

I'm afraid that Local Councils reserve the right to set their own regulations. Although most do follow the Department for Communities and Local Government Guidelines outlined in this document.

Mark Emerson Commented:

09/11/2020 @ 16:35

Can the EU Flag still be flown in the UK

harr_flag_poles Replied:

09/11/2020 @ 16:59

Hi Mark, there has yet to be an official update from the UK government on their flag flying guidance. However, once there is we will be sure to update our customers. So, no it's not illegal to fly the EU flag, but it may irritate some people, depending on their political stance. Thanks for your question - it's very relevant. Harrison Customer Care.

June jackson Commented:

25/10/2020 @ 15:23

My neighbour has erected a flag on a flag pole in front garden close to my side.when windy the shadow of it reflex on my TV screen spoiling my viewing.he has refused to move it.what can I do.

harr_flag_poles Replied:

09/11/2020 @ 17:06

Hi June, Other than contacting your local council, there is little we can advise. If the pole is below 4.6 metres then they do not need to seek planning permission: "There are no restrictions on the size of the flag, however the flagpole must not exceed more than 4.6 metres above ground level." Sorry to hear you're experiencing issues with your neighbour. Harrison Customer Care

Phill Commented:

08/09/2020 @ 14:44

Am I allowed to put two flagpoles up without permission

harr_flag_poles Replied:

19/10/2020 @ 11:15

Hi there Phill, if the flagpole is 4.6metres of smaller then you will not need permission. If you plan to install a taller flagpole then you must contact your local council. Many thanks

Steven Palfrey Commented:

14/06/2020 @ 11:25

Hi. Can you display the George Cross 'inside' your window without permission?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

17/06/2020 @ 14:47

Good day Steven. Thank you for contacting us. There is no law that stipulates placing a St George's flag in your window is illegal. The only time homeowners should be cautious is if the flag is attached to a pole. Kind regards Harrisons.

Ken Stokes Commented:

10/05/2020 @ 19:22

Hi, I belong to a local archery club, can we fly our flag on our ground, it will be lower than the 4.6 metres height limit?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

18/05/2020 @ 9:37

Hello Ken, thank you for your comment. In theory you should have no problem flying your flag on a flagpole of that height. However, if you have any doubts, you could call you local council or visit their website. I hope it goes smoothly.

Simon Burke Commented:

09/02/2020 @ 15:56

We live in a national park. Can I still have e a flagpole up to 4.6m?

Tony farmer Commented:

05/02/2020 @ 11:02

Is it legal to fly the United States 🇺🇸 flag ?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

07/02/2020 @ 12:21

Thank you for your question. Yes the USA flag falls within the permitted range of flags. They can be purchased in the World Flags section of our website or by calling 01325 355433.

David Young Commented:

24/12/2019 @ 0:14

Can you have a flagpole on its own (without a flag) without planning permission? I want to use a flagpole to run an extension lead or cable above head height across a pavement to charge an electric vehicle as I have no off-street parking. The pole would start on my own property and be detachable (ie I would only use it when charging).

harr_flag_poles Replied:

10/01/2020 @ 13:23

Thank you for your question. The pole would require planning permission if it exceeded 4.6m in height.

Lorin Paul shane Robinson Commented:

01/11/2019 @ 14:32

Can I fly a white star line flag to do with the titanic

harr_flag_poles Replied:

05/11/2019 @ 11:47

This flag is not within the permitted list of flags so it would require planning permission.

Ķaren Rouse-Deane Commented:

31/10/2019 @ 0:15

Why isn't flags include St. Andrew (Scotland) St George (England) 'Do you do the W.R.A.C flag?

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:24

The St Andrew and St George flags fall within the permitted list of flags as it is "The flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom" Yes, we can produce the W.R.A.C flag. It is not something we hold in stock but it can be custom printed. Please get in touch for details.

Lyn donovan Commented:

21/10/2019 @ 16:00

Can I fly my St George flag

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:21

Yes, the St George falls within the permitted list of flags

Richard Ansell Commented:

06/10/2019 @ 14:50

I have just put a flagpole on my garden shed so its abot12 foot high I am flying a 3'x5' union flag

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:27

Your flagpole would technically need planning permission as it is above the 4.6m height allowance. The flag is permitted as there is no restriction on flag size and the Union is on the list of permitted flags.

Derek Tolley-Newell Commented:

04/09/2019 @ 8:14

Is it legal for the eu flag to be a fixed to railings outside wedtminster

Jenny Hopkins Commented:

23/08/2019 @ 20:46

Neighbours around the corner corner at least four houses down from where we live came atound to ask us to take our flag down as the plastic clips were making a noise dureing the nightwhrre do we stand with this complaint the pole is the right hight requiements .

Flag Geek Replied:

12/09/2019 @ 15:55

There are no regulations stating the flagpole must be silent. We are happy to recommend a solution to the noise problem if you can send some photos of the flag and the clips. Our flags are all attached with a rope and toggle so its not something we have come across before.

Chris Browne Commented:

09/08/2019 @ 19:15

The pole height of 4.6m restriction may have Something to do with not exceeding the Roof line height, if my thoughts are correct You would certainly exceed it on a bungalow Therefore, do suggest visiting my local Authority to be on the safe side of the law .

Flag Geek Replied:

12/09/2019 @ 15:56

Hello, the 4.6m rule is across the board, no matter what building it will be near. If you are worried your local authority will be able to put your mind at rest too.

Ronnie Bradley Commented:

31/07/2019 @ 14:05

My neigbourgh has put flags all around his fence at the back garden The Saint Andrews flag Is this allowed

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:32

I would suggest speaking to your local council to see if there is anything they can do to help.

Rosalind Donnelly Commented:

27/07/2019 @ 23:43

I would like to put 2 Scotland flags to hide unsightly trees that are looking in to my garden .i won't be putting them on there trees

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:31

There are no restriction on the size of flags that can be flown.

John Commented:

12/07/2019 @ 23:36

Can I fly the Northern Ireland Flag (St George cross with red hand of Ulster and Crown) as I’m unsure if this is an official flag or can I fly it anyway?

harr_flag_poles Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:30

Yes, this is a permitted flag.

Andrew stoddart Commented:

04/07/2019 @ 16:43

How many flags can I fly on my property

Flag Geek Replied:

31/10/2019 @ 10:29

You are permitted to fly 2 flags within the grounds of your property without seeking planning permission.

Allan Commented:

05/06/2019 @ 11:27

hi l have just put my new flagpole up l was told I need to take the Union Jack during the the hours of darkness is this correct ? regards Allan

harr_flag_poles Replied:

11/06/2019 @ 9:34

Thank you for your question. We follow the guidelines of the Flag Institute and there are no restrictions about flying flags over night. However, as the British weather can be unpredictable so taking your flag down at night can be wise to prevent damage to the flag and pole from high winds.

Mr Harry c Day Commented:

17/04/2019 @ 3:15

Can we fly the St Andrews Cross flag in Scotland?

Flag Geek Replied:

18/04/2019 @ 14:45

Yes. All national flags fall within the list of permitted flags so you are able to fly the St Andrews Cross without obtaining permission.

Drew Commented:

29/03/2019 @ 11:58

Can the European flag be flown above the Union Jack on the same pole It’s pissing off every time the brexite is on the news

Flag Geek Replied:

29/03/2019 @ 12:09

The British Flag Protocol states that: "Sometimes it may be desired to display two flags when only one flagpole is available. As long as both flags are British this is possible. The senior flag should fly at the top, with a gap of about 30cm (12”), assuming there is enough vertical space on the pole. For example, the Union Flag can be flown over the flag of England, Scotland or Wales, or over a county, city or house flag." I hope that answers your question.

Ron Commented:

21/12/2018 @ 16:00

Can I leave the flag flying all night?

Flag Geek Replied:

11/01/2019 @ 16:05

Hello, there are no regulations about when you can fly your flag. We would advise that you take in down in high winds to prevent damage. Kind Regards

shane Lamb Commented:

06/12/2018 @ 12:08

Hello. Can you help please can I fly the U/Jack and EU flag I live in rural Wales or do I need planning. Kind regards

Flag Geek Replied:

11/01/2019 @ 16:03

Hello, As long as the flags meet the standards set out in this guide https://flagpoles.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/pdf_documents/Planning-Permission-Guidelines2.pdf they are on the list of permitted flags. Kind Regards

P cartwright Commented:

18/10/2018 @ 8:38

Can I fly a solitaire flag with Snp written on it, in a garden in Scotland or only solitaire as it has been altered

Flag Geek Replied:

19/10/2018 @ 12:09

Strictly speaking as this flag has an amendment to the standard Saltire flag you cannot fly it without consent from your local planning authority as per the Plain English Guide to Flying Flags. If you chose to fly this flag without consent then if your authority is made aware then you could be asked to take it down. We hope this helps and of course would be happy to supply the flag to you.

V S Hope Commented:

14/09/2018 @ 20:19

Hello Do Flagpoles have to be at the rear of a dwelling house?

Flag Geek Replied:

18/09/2018 @ 13:56

Great question. There are no specific rule about whether your flagpole can be in the front or back of your house. If it is your land and the flagpole is no more than 4.6m from the ground then you can have up to 2 without local council permission anywhere on your grounds. Hope that helps.

D moran Commented:

14/09/2018 @ 8:57

Can you please tell me if it's okay to have a pirate flag put onto a child's pirate ship thank you

Flag Geek Replied:

18/09/2018 @ 13:58

Hello, Pirate flags are not specifically permitted in the UK under the Governments plain English guide (which can be found on our garden flagpoles page). That said, it would be a particularly vindictive neighbour who would complain about such a flag if being used by children.

GRAHAM WEST Commented:

23/08/2018 @ 16:47

Advise sort... Someone has complained to the local planning office that they obviously don't like us flying the Union Jack - the planning officer in Ipswich Suffolk states the pole cannot be larger than 3 meters - but the regulations state 4.6 meters which mine is - A 3 meter pole with a 4Ft flag on it means its accessible to any individual who may chose to grab it over the boundary! id the planner office right, can they have there own rules despite the national guidelines stating otherwise? thanks for any feedback...

Flag Geek Replied:

23/08/2018 @ 17:02

I'm afraid that Local Councils reserve the right to set their own regulations. Although most do follow the Department for Communities and Local Government Guidelines outlined in this document. here