Call made for tougher fly posting penalties

- A senior Labour MP has called for tougher penalties for companies which use illegal fly-posting to advertise their goods and services.

- A senior Labour MP has called for tougher penalties for companies which use illegal fly-posting to advertise their goods and services.

David Hinchliffe, chairman of the Commons select committee on health, also wants the Government to bring in a more effective policing system so that local authorities can crack down on fly-posting.

Hinchliffe tabled a Commons question on the issue after a company called Direct Beds swamped parts of his Wakefield constituency in Yorkshire with posters.

The MP said: "The present system is very bureaucratic and it is not easy for councils to act. It should be simplified and the penalties should be much greater."

Although advertisers could be fined up to £1000, with daily penalties of £100 for continuing offences, Hinchliffe said it was often "worth their while" to be fined as this bought "free publicity" in itself.

He is worried that companies can escape prosecution if posters on walls, windows and bus shelters carry no identifying imprint.

But, Nick Raynsford, the planning minister, said firms given publicity by ads displayed without the consent of the owner of the land or premises could be prosecuted, unless they could prove the ads were put up without their knowledge or consent.

Raynsford said local authorities had powers to remove or obliterate illegal posters after giving two days notice. He added that the level of fines was kept under review by the Home Office and updated periodically.



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