Farmers are being advised to think carefully before allowing advertisements in roadside fields after the Department for Communities and Local Government announced a clampdown.

Planning minister Yvette Cooper is urging councils to take a tough stance against those who try to get round planning rules by putting unauthorised, mobile adverts in fields.

She is also encouraging local planning authorities to scutinise more closely the suitability of any advertising submitted for planning consent.

“Too many of our motorways are now strewn with illegal trailer adverts, which cause hazards for drivers and are unsightly too,” she said.

“Just because the ads are parked on trailers doesn’t mean they should be able to dodge proper planning and safety rules.

Some 23% of drivers say they have been so affected by roadside distractions, such as ads, that they have swerved out of lane.”

Richard Brogden, partner and planning expert at Bruton Knowles, said farmers should be aware that advertisement activity is likely to be closely scrutinised.

“With such tangible pressure from central government, you can anticipate authorities undertaking more prosecutions to deliver this clampdown,” he said.

“Farmers would be advised to review activity and remove, or arrange to have removed, anything which they feel may contravene planning laws.

If they are uncertain about how the regulations affect them or how to terminate an advertising agreement with a company, they should seek professional advice.”