FG7: Anti-predator combination fencing

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the anti-predator combination fencing item.

How much will be paid

£11.10 per metre (m).

Where to use this item

Available for Countryside Stewardship Higher Tier.


  • on dry open grassland habitat used by breeding stone-curlew – in conjunction with a grassland option
  • in a national breeding wader target area or where there are significant numbers of breeding waders – in conjunction with the management or creation of lowland wet grassland for breeding wader options (GS9 and GS11)
  • on certain coastal habitats (such as shingle) used by breeding seabirds, especially terns

Where this item cannot be used

On historic or archaeological features without specialist approval, such as from the county archaeologist or Historic England

How this item will benefit the environment

It increases the productivity of priority ground-nesting birds when used with effective habitat management.


  • agree with Natural England a specification for the fencing in year 1 of the agreement
  • create a permanent anti-predator combination fence that meets the specification and timings as agreed with Natural England
  • check regularly that target predators are absent from the enclosure
  • prevent vegetation from touching the fence’s live wires

Fence specification

The fence is likely to:

  • be buried about 25 cm deep into the ground using a trenching machine
  • extend at least 1m above ground
  • have electric wires set at around 65cm, 115cm, 130cm and 150cm above ground level, offset 5cm to 10 cm out from the post

Do not:

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • photographs of the existing site
  • written support from NE adviser
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Higher Tier manual for more detail.

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs during and after work
  • detailed specification must be provided (by the end of year 1)
  • records of the number of breeding pairs and breeding productivity of target species within and (as far as possible) outside the fence

Applicants must contact the Local Authority or Historic Environments Record Office before applying for this item for advice and gain any consents or permissions required. You do not need to provide this with your application, but you will need to submit consents or permissions with your payment claim.

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Higher Tier applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item

Constructing the fence

This item can also be used as a stock fence but this item should only be used when fencing is needed at the same location each year.

Anti-predator fences are effective only against large ground predators such as foxes, badgers and hedgehogs. This item should be used alongside effective habitat management and when predators are likely to limit the productivity of the target species.

When constructing the fence it is necessary to:

  • make sure that the fence surrounds a nesting and chick feeding habitat that benefits the target species
  • place fencing away from tall vegetation
  • leave enough space between the fence and boundary for vegetation management
  • modify gates to stop predators getting through, over or under them

Maintaining the fence

Regular inspections are needed to ensure that:

  • vegetation is not touching the fence
  • the voltage is at the required level
  • the structure is maintained to the required specification
  • no target predators are in the enclosed area

The Natural England adviser will advise on how frequently these visits are needed (usually at least once a week when birds are nesting) and whether the power should be left on all year.

Control vegetation before it touches the bottom wire. Strim first under the fence line, then apply herbicide.


A disturbance licence will be needed if working near Schedule 1 species, such as stone curlew and little tern.

Further information

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 10 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated for 2017 applications.

  2. Information updated for applications in 2016.

  3. First published.