Crackdown near for outdoor ads

23 February 2001

Crackdown near for outdoor ads

By Isabel Davies

ADVERTISING with billboards in the countryside could be more difficult in future if a new campaign by the Council from the Protection of Rural England proves successful.

The CPRE has issued a briefing document aimed at local people which gives advice on encouraging local authorities to maintain and improve controls on outdoor advertising.

The guide Local Reviews of Advertising Controls explains that local authorities have been asked to review their Areas of Special Control of Advertisements (ASCA).

The charity says this provides an opportunity for local people to campaign for designations to be maintained, extended or even new ones created.

ASCA designations cover about 50% of England and mean there is a presumption against allowing people to erect hoardings, balloon advertising and most illuminated advertisements.

The CPRE acknowledges that some people would welcome a relaxation of controls so the document arms readers with responses to the arguments.

It suggests farmers might argue that advertisements in the countryside present an opportunity to earn income at a time when they are facing increased economic hardship.

But the organisation insists this must not be at the expense of landscape and tranquillity. "There are better way to provide a sound income for farmers," it concludes.

Meanwhile, Robert Swift of Wilts-based lawyers Wilsons has warned that farmers considering erecting 30m wide temporary banners or billboards next to roads and motorways are all subject to the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisement) Regulations.

Robert Swift head of the farms and estates department for Wilsons Solicitors in Salisbury says under the regulations displaying a hoarding without the necessary permission can result in a fine of up to £1000 and a daily penalty of £40 per day if the offence continues following conviction.

But although the regulations are the same all over England and Wales the firm says it does seem that farmers in different areas may find themselves treated differently if they breach them.

A quick telephone survey found if a billboard was going to be up for a short period (say 28 days) it would be less likely that action would be taken in the majority of the councils concerned. It also found the more rural the Council the less likely it was that action would be taken.

See more