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Control of Advertisements

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 15 March 2007

The Secretary of State has today laid Regulations to control outdoor advertisements in England. A circular is being published to accompany the Regulations and a Regulatory Impact Assessment has been prepared.

This coincides with the launch of a database on unlawful advertisements and fly-posting, which will help local planning authorities to take enforcement action against those who flout the law.

The new Regulations update and improve the current arrangements for controlling outdoor advertisements and make the legislation more responsive to rapidly changing forms of advertising. The circular explains the legislation and provides guidance for local planning authorities and businesses to help ensure that the system operates effectively.

Copies of the Regulations, the circular and the Regulatory Impact Assessment will be placed in the House Libraries or may be obtained via the Department for Communities and Local Government website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/staging/index.asp?id=l506099 and the Office of Public Sector Information website at www.opsi.gov.uk

The unlawful advertisements and fly-posting database is launched today. The database will enable enforcement officers within local planning authorities to input and extract details of prosecutions and formal cautions against companies and individuals who have unlawfully displayed advertisements alongside motorways and trunk roads. The database will also include this information about those guilty of fly-posting.

This service will help local planning authorities to build a case for prosecution within their own administrative areas. It will also help authorities have an idea of a company's history and assist them in tracking down persistent offenders. It could assist the courts when awarding costs and ensuring that the fine imposed reflects the seriousness of the offence and takes into account whether the person found guilty is a first time or persistent offender. This in turn should help to reduce the number of unlawful advertisements displayed alongside motorways and trunk roads and reduce the incidence of fly-posting.