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Guild for Outdoor advertisements, Hoarding, Banners, Billboards, Shop fronts & Signage

How the Advertisement Control System Works and who controls outdoor advertsing:- Throughout England, local planning authorities are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the advertisement control system, and for deciding whether a particular advertisement should be permitted or not. For this purpose the local planning authority for your area will normally be the district council, the County Council or the London borough council if you live in the Greater London area. But there are two exceptions to this arrangement:  if your advertisement is to be displayed in any National Park, the planning authority is the National Park authority, or if it is to be displayed within the Broads area then the planning authority is the Broads authority;  if your advertisement is to be displayed in an urban development area, the planning authority normally is the Urban Development Corporation for that area.

If the planning authority refuse consent for your advertisement, or require you to remove an existing advertisement, you have a right to appeal against their decision.

In England, this appeal is to the Secretary of State.

The operation of the appeal system is described below.

What is an ‘advertisement’?

The advertisement control system covers a very wide range of advertisements and signs including:

Memorials and railway signals are not regarded as advertisements

Three different groups of outdoor advertisement

To enable you to understand more easily whether you need the planning authority’s permission for the outdoor advertisement you want to display, this booklet divides all advertisements into three main groups, which are explained in more detail later on.

These groups are:

Three areas where special rules apply

Because there are some places in our cities and towns and many parts of the countryside in England which are especially vulnerable to the visual effects of outdoor advertisements, all planning authorities have three special powers which enable them to achieve a stricter control over advertisements than they can achieve in the ordinary way.

These powers are:

1. to define an Area of Special Control of Advertisements;

2. to remove from a particular site or a defined area the benefit of the deemed consent normally provided by the rules; and

3. to require a particular advertisement, or the use of a site for displaying advertisements, to be discontinued.

The way in which the planning authority propose to use the first and second of these powers must be formally approved by the Secretary of State before it is effective; and there is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the planning authority’s use of the third power (a ‘discontinuance notice’).

The ‘standard conditions’

All outdoor advertisements must comply with five ‘standard conditions’.

They must:

Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers

Advertisements Which are Normally Permitted

Conditions for display without application

An outdoor advertisement is permitted for display without the planning authority’s specific consent if:

There are 9 different classes of advertisement which are excluded from the direct control of the planning authority provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

These categories are:


2. Advertisements displayed on or in any vehicle or vessel which is normally


Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers

Advertisements which are an integral part of a building’s fabric (see illustration 5).

4. Advertisements in the form of price tickets or markers, trade-names on branded goods, or displayed on petrol pumps or vending machines. These advertisements must not be illuminated, nor exceed 0.1 square metres in area. Examples are shown in illustrations 6 and 7.

5. Advertisements relating specifically to a pending Parliamentary, European Parliamentary, or local government election or a referendum. These advertisements must not be displayed more than 14 days after the close of the poll.

6. Advertisements required by any Parliamentary Order, or any enactment, to be displayed.

7. Traffic signs. Any traffic sign (as defined in section 64(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984).

8. A national flag of any country, the flag of the European Union, the Commonwealth, the United Nations, English County flags and saints’ flags associated with a particular county. Any national flag may be flown, so long as it does not have anything added to the design of the flag or any advertising material added to the flagstaff. moving (see illustrations 3 and 4).


council planning guild

advertising guild

Advertisements which are normally permitted


9. Advertisements displayed inside a building. These advertisements must not be illuminated or displayed within one metre of any window or other external opening through which they can be seen from outside the building (see illustrations 8 and 9).

guild for planning

Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers:

Classes of advertisement benefiting from deemed consent The rules enable certain ‘specified classes’ of advertisement to be displayed without application being made to the planning authority.

There are 14 such classes of outdoor advertisement, each with its own particular conditions. So the practical effect is that the number of advertisements in that class, their size and duration of display, are limited for each deemed consent. There are also stricter rules for the display of deemed consent advertisements in any Area of Special Control of Advertisements.

Provided that the particular advertisement you propose to display conforms entirely to all the relevant provisions of its own class, you do not need the planning authority’s consent to display it.

If you are in any doubt whether your advertisement benefits from deemed consent, you would be well advised to consult the planning authority before you display it.

Class 1 : ‘functional advertisements’ by public bodies

Advertisements in Class 1 are those which are needed by public bodies (such as government departments and local authorities, the public utilities and public transport operators) to give information or directions about the services they provide.

These would include:

Two examples of advertisements in Class 1 are shown in illustrations 10 and 11.)

planning guild

planning guild council

Advertisements which are normally permitted

Advertisements must not exceed 1.55 square metres in area and a reasonable degree of illumination is allowed to enable the information or directions to be read in hours of darkness.

A local planning authority may display advertisements in their own administrative area.

Class 2: miscellaneous advertisements on any premises

Class 2 gives consent for a wide variety of small notices and signs to be displayed on the premises or buildings to which the notice or sign relates. Class 2 is divided into three separate categories, (A), (B) and (C), each with its own provisions for deemed consent.

Class 2(A) permits notices or signs to be displayed on buildings or land as a means of identification, direction or warning. These would include:

Advertisements in Class 2(A) must not exceed 0.3 of a square metre in area. Illumination is not allowed. Two examples of advertisements in this area are shown in illustrations 12 and 13

planning guild

planning guild

Class 2(B) permits notices or signs to be displayed on any premises for the purpose of advertising the fact that a person, partnership or company is carrying on a profession, business or trade at those premises.

These would include:

An advertisement in Class 2(B) must not exceed 0.3 of a square metre in area, but if there is more than one entrance to the premises on different road frontages, two advertisements of 0.3 of a square metre each may be displayed (on a separate frontage), as in illustrations 14 and 15.


planning guild
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