Government abolishes controls on poster hoardings in rural areas

The Government has delivered an unexpected boost to the outdoor industry by agreeing to scrap rules that ban poster hoardings in most of the countryside.

The Government has delivered an unexpected boost to the outdoor

industry by agreeing to scrap rules that ban poster hoardings in most of

the countryside.



Ministers will abolish the ad-free areas that account for 30 per cent of

land in England and Wales. In future, the ’special control of

advertisements’ zones will be restricted to national parks, the Norfolk

Broads, areas of natural outstanding beauty, conservation areas and

sites of special scientific interest. Their protected status will be

reviewed by local authorities every five years.



The move was opposed by countryside campaigners and was the most radical

considered by the Government during a review of the planning controls

over outdoor ads. Ministers insist councils will still be able to refuse

planning applications for poster sites in sensitive areas.



The decision came as a surprise to many in the outdoor industry. Alan

Simmons, chairman of the poster specialist Concord, said: ’The onus will

be very much on media owners not to take advantage or abuse the

relaxation because, if they do, in the long run it will be

counter-productive.’



The new rules will restrict balloon ads, which will in future need

special permission from councils. The new regulations will also impose a

crackdown on flyposting by allowing local authorities to remove posters

when they consider them to be illegal. A good practice guide will be

issued by the Government later this year.



Beverley Hughes, the junior environment minister, said the that

proposals had received ’widespread sup-port’ during a consultation

exercise.



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