Critical Infrastructure Security: Mesh vs Palisade Fencing

From high-security fencing to comprehensive access systems, there are many ways a perimeter can be secured to protect Critical National Infrastructure.

Protecting these critical sites from potential attackers or threats through a physical security perimeter is the first line of defence against nation-wide harm or disruption, if these facilities were to fail.

In just about every case, critical infrastructure security fencing is one of the most integral forms of protection – with a range of products, the most common of which are mesh and palisade fencing.

But what fencing should you be specifying for your Critical National Infrastructure site or project? Are there benefits to choosing one over the other? First let’s discuss what CNI is and why it’s so important.

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What Is Critical Infrastructure And Why Is It Important To Protect It?

Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) refers to the physical systems, cyber systems and assets that are essential for the functioning of our society. These facilities are those which would cause nation-wide incapacitation or harm if they were to fall. This includes items such as power plants, water treatment facilities, telecommunications networks, and military installations.

The purpose of Critical Infrastructure Security is to protect these systems and assets from potential threats. This can include physical threats like break-ins, terrorism and natural disasters, as well as cyber threats like hacking and data breaches.

Failing to correctly secure these critical infrastructure sites could cause chaos, as there are many sites which are relied upon. If someone was able to cripple the infrastructure that allows for 999 Emergency Calls, fire and emergency services would not be contactable, which could ultimately lead to severe consequences.

 

Mesh Fencing Vs Palisade Fencing – What Are The Benefits Of Each?

Critical infrastructure is often located in high-risk environments, as they are often high-profile sites which can cause national disturbance if they are attacked. To mitigate the risk of attack, it is important to have an effective security fencing solution in place.

Appropriate security will increase the risk of the attacker failing their attempt at entry, and increase their chances of being caught, which helps to deter any potential threats before they even attempt access.

There are two main types of security fencing – mesh fencing and palisade fencing. Each type has its own benefits which need to be considered when selecting the most appropriate solution for a particular application. Both mesh fencing and palisade fencing can provide varying degrees of security.

Mesh Fencing

Mesh fencing is typically made from welded wire which is then woven into a mesh pattern. Mesh fences are also usually coated with Polyester Powder Coating or Plastic coating to give an aesthetic finish – sometimes prefer for being less intimidating than palisade.

 

Palisade Fencing

Palisade fencing, on the other hand, consists of vertical steel pickets which are bolted or welded onto horizontal rails. Palisade fences are strong and durable with high security variations of palisade being able to withstand 3 minutes of experienced attacks from tools of a higher mechanical advantage.

Palisade fencing offers a distinct aesthetic, with many citing palisade as being more visually impressive and helping to deter potential attackers as it looks more secure.

 

Anti-Climb features

Neither fence is un-climbable, however it can have certain features which will make it more difficult to climb. If an attacker is intent on scaling the fence they could climb either.

Mesh is known in the industry for being anti climb. However using utensils a person could scale the fence, the ease of this depends on the rigidity of the fence and becomes easier as the fence becomes more rigid which is unfortunately linked to the fence being higher security.

Palisade becomes harder to climb, the higher security rating it has, as the pales become closer together removing footholds.

To make both fences difficult to climb, we advise removing footholds, making it as tall as possible and adding a security topping. After all, no one wants to be 3 metres in the air climbing over a razor wire.

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Installation

Another consideration to make when specifying mesh or palisade fencing is the difference in their installation processes. Mesh panels require, on average, 10% more posts as long as the ground is relatively flat. However, if the ground is inclined you will require:

  1. Taller posts and panels which will need to be embedded in the ground
  2. Shorter panels which leads to more posts and holes to be excavated

Often this restriction in installation can end up taking a considerable amount of time longer, and even end up looking untidy once completed, as it needs to meet a minimum height.

On the other hand, palisade fencing’s design allows the installer to follow the contours within the ground, adjusting the height of each pale individually and with ease.

 

Compatibility

Another thing to consider is compatibility with other CCTV.  Some mesh fences are specified as they can offer better visibility for CCTV, which can be essential in the protection of CNI.

Both mesh and palisade fencing are suitable for Critical Infrastructure Security, however, the correct product for your site will depend project-specific criteria such as topography, planning constraints and desired aesthetic. Therefore speaking to a security expert or fencing specialist can help identify the right product for your project.

The most essential part of specifying Critical Infrastructure Security fencing is checking for the correct security ratings and accreditations.

Security Ratings For Critical Infrastructure Security Fencing

The security fencing you specify plays an important role, therefore it is essential that they are designed and constructed to withstand rigorous attacks.

Security ratings for Critical Infrastructure Fencing are used to ensure that they meet the highest standards of security. Ratings are given by third-party accreditation bodies such as NPSA and the LPCB following thorough testing, where in some cases, the fencing is subjected to relentless attack in a controlled environment.

The NPSA (National Protective Security Authority) provide guidelines and security advice for those who are looking to specify security solutions.

 

Conclusion

There isn’t a clear better option between specifying mesh and palisade fencing. With innovations in design, both are capable of providing the same security rating and therefore other factors will determine which one you specify. Project-specific criteria such as environment, topography and aesthetic are the main factors that’ll decide which solution you choose.

The most important thing is to choose a solution that meets the specific security needs of the organisation in question. When specifying your critical infrastructure security look out for security ratings and accreditations, as these will determine the quality of the fence.

Are you looking for high-security fencing for your Critical National Infrastructure project? Feel free to get in touch and talk to one of our experts today, with no obligation. We’re happy to help!

With Barkers Fencing, you gain access to over forty years of expertise in the design, manufacture, and delivery of high-security fencing developed to meet the most stringent national and international standards.

To find out more about palisade fencing for your site, get in touch today.

Or simply call 01782 319264 to speak to an expert today