Govt launches blitz against fly-posting

The Government is to launch a nationwide crackdown on fly-posting as part of an attempt to clean up run-down neighbourhoods.

Ministers will make it easier to prosecute companies that use the practice and impose fixed penalty notices without taking them to court.

The Government's blueprint says the shake-up will let local authorities police fly-posting more effectively, as they will no longer incur costs by having to prove that the beneficiaries had "knowledge and consent" of the posters.

It promises that the threat of prosecution will result in "less fly-posting" and adds: "The ad industry would benefit from more lawful advertisements and less competition from unlawful advertisements."

All local authorities will receive special powers, which have enabled some London councils, such as Camden, to adopt a more aggressive approach to fly-posting. They will be able to remove fly-posters quickly and recover the costs from the person responsible under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill, which was given a second reading by MPs on Monday.

Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, told the Commons the problem of fly-posting might be exacerbated by its potential commercial advantage for low-cost advertising of events. "We are making it more difficult for those who benefit from such illegal advertising to avoid charges simply by claiming that they did not consent to it," she said.