Bollard regulations in the UK

Bollard regulations in the UK

Feb 27, 2023

Everything you need to know about bollard regulations in the UK

Whether you're a business or property owner, you've probably thought about installing bollards at some point. Before you rush to put them outside your property, there are some UK regulations which you must make note of first.

Why are bollards needed?

Bollards are required in certain areas to mitigate criminal, terrorist, and vehicular threats. More often than not, the cost of installing bollards is far less than the costs related to accidents and criminal activity.

According to most national and local codes, bollards are required to keep key site features protected. In some cases, short-term bollards will be required if there's an event taking place or to control access to multi-use spaces. 

Different types of bollards will be more appropriate than others depending on the situation in question and the level of security that’s required. In some instances, for example, bollards will need to be lowered into the ground or moved elsewhere to allow for vehicles with authorisation to access specific areas. In other situations, permanent protection from traffic is required meaning that the bollards need to be fixed in place at all times.

Are bollards legally required in the UK?

In certain locations, bollards are required to help prevent crime, particularly if these places are in large public spaces. There are industry guidelines on spacing, but optimal placement will vary depending on the purpose of the bollard. This is especially the case when an incident, such as 'ram-raiding,' has occurred.

To prevent yourself from getting into trouble, consult the UK Department for Transport for further information. They can accurately confirm whether your property or asset legally needs to be protected by a bollard. It’s always a good idea to check for any legalities before going forward. 


Where should bollards be placed?

Bollards play an important role in keeping both pedestrians and assets safe meaning it’s important to put proper thought into where bollards are placed. Installing bollards in strategic places will ensure that they are able to protect your property as effectively as possible. 

The placement of bollards is particularly important in terms of vehicle bollard spacing. If not, a shop may fall victim to acts such as ram-raiding. Adding anti-ram bollards can be a great way to prevent your business from any unnecessary damage of this nature. 

If you’re using bollards to guide the flow of pedestrians through busy inner-city areas, be sure to place them far enough apart so that people can walk through them easily. A distance of between 1.3m and 1.5m is generally considered to be enough, as this allows pedetrians to move freely but prevents vehicles from passing through.

Bollard placement requirements

According to the UK Department for Transport for traffic bollards and low-level traffic signs, to fulfil security requirements,  bollards must be placed to maximise blast stand-off distance. This means that a maximum gap of 1.2m is the required bollard spacing to prevent vehicle access. They should also be placed around half a metre from the kerb to allow car doors to be easily opened.

If a site experiences a high volume of pedestrian movement, then it should prioritise safe movement. This should be at the required level of pedestrian convenience and comfort. To achieve this with bollards, many organisations perform a site assessment.

These assessments are normally done using pedestrian simulation software and can be used to integrate movement analyses into the design process. Pedestrian movement is affected by route capacity, comfort, convenience, and conflict potential as a result.


Bollard dimension regulations

There are no specific height and width requirements for bollards in the UK, however, it’s generally accepted that bollards should have a height of anywhere between 0.9m and 1.1m and a width of between 10cm and 30cm.

Naturally, the dimensions of a bollard could vary according to the design that you want. That being said, it's generally advisable to stay within or close to the aforementioned dimensions.

Bollard design restrictions

Much like the dimensions, the UK government doesn't say much about how a bollard can actually look. While literature reviews and scientific findings are important, style is a huge influencing factor when it comes to choosing bollards for a specific location.

If you're placing it as a means to control vehicle traffic, then your bollard shouldn't be a visual hazard. In other words, it shouldn't be distracting to drivers and potentially cause accidents. It should, however, be visible enough so that drivers don’t drive into it by mistake. Making sure that the bollard doesn’t blend in with the surrounding area or adding integrated illumination are good ways of ensuring this.

Additionally, it's important to consider neighbouring building designs and the area in your bollards will be placed in. While you might want something that'll stand out, it's best to avoid something that could be deemed an eyesore.

We'd recommend you look at the bollards we have on offer. Our ever-growing range includes everything from traditional to contemporary designs.


Bollard weight restrictions

There aren't any restrictions on the weight of a bollard. In this case, a bollard's design will be a huge determining factor, as the weight will depend on its function.

Bollards that are used for security are generally heavy and made from materials such as concrete, whereas a temporary bollard used around a construction site may be made out of plastic so that it weighs less and can be moved around easily.

So, to get an idea of how much your bollard may weigh, you can take into consideration its function in conjunction with its height and width. You then need to ensure that it doesn't damage any public property when it's being placed.

Impact resistance regulations

As we've said, the specifications of your bollard will come down to what it's needed for. If you are placing a bollard to protect a valuable asset such as a historical monument, then it will need a higher level of impact resistance. Anti-ram bollards are a great choice for situations such as this.

In areas where vehicles don't pose much of a threat to pedestrians or assets, a lower-impact bollard may be more appropriate.

Tips for placing bollards

After you've looked at our extensive collection of bollards, here are some tips to remember. Please note that these recommendations are simply to help designers plan the optimal location and arrangement of bollards to help ensure they meet security and operational objectives.

  • Bollards should be located away from pinch points to maintain service levels. This primarily includes points such as narrow passageways.
  • Place bollards in an area where they'll maximise vehicle stand-off and where pedestrians won't be forced to walk close to path edges.
  • The combined width of a bollard array should be greater than the width of the exit being protected.
  • You can identify pedestrian movement lines by considering factors beyond the site boundary. Factors typically include large office buildings, tourist destinations, and public transport stations.
  • Position bollards in lines that are perpendicular to pedestrian movement lines.
  • Try not to place bollards in spaces where there is a high likelihood of conflict between pedestrians. These may be areas where pedestrian movement patterns overlap or areas in which there's limited visibility.
  • Take into consideration design factors such as height and visibility. This is because bollards can have a negative impact, particularly if placed in an area with low light.
  • If you plan on placing a bollard in a particularly busy area, then you may need to conduct a specialist site assessment.



What is the recommended spacing for bollards?

There's no set recommendation when it comes to the placement, spacing, and alignment of bollards. The correct or ideal spacing will always vary depending on the nature of a project. There are industry guidelines on spacing, but optimal placement will vary depending on the purpose of the bollard. For example, if you need bollards for security purposes, the legal requirements for spacing should be 1.2m between bollards. 

What colour should bollards be?

Bollards can effectively be any colour if being used on private land. In public spaces, the colour of a bollard may also serve as an indicator of what goes on in an area.

For example, a red bollard usually indicates that you have to stop or that there are physical hazards. Orange bollards signify dangerous equipment or machinery. Blue ones indicate informational signage and green bollards usually imply that the area is safe. Do note that this may vary from region to region.

Can I use bollards outside my house?

Bollards are often used as parking posts at the street-facing end of driveways. This helps to protect any vehicles parked outside your home against theft or damage and can deter criminals from breaking into your home in search of carkeys, too. Just make sure that you don’t install bollards on the pavement itself as this isn’t technically your private property.

Where can you use bollards?

If being used on private property, then you can pretty much place a bollard in any place where you think it can be functional. You'll usually find bollards around a building's perimeter, in car parks and near entryways. You'll also find them near valuable assets such as ATMs.

Who regulates the placement of bollards?

The UK Department for Transport is in charge of regulating the placement of bollards. If you're still wondering about bollard regulations in the UK, then be sure to check out the Department of Transport's website.

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