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Tougher measures to crack-down on illegal outdoor advertisements

Published 15 March 2007

Planning Minister Yvette Cooper today announced a package of new measures that will ensure councils can crackdown on companies who continue to advertise illegally on England's roads. From today, local planners will be able to track offenders on a new national database, with those companies prosecuted for repeat offending being 'named and shamed'.

Planning Minister Yvette Cooper today announced a package of new measures that will ensure councils can crackdown on companies who continue to advertise illegally on England's roads. From today, local planners will be able to track offenders on a new national database, with those companies prosecuted for repeat offending being 'named and shamed'.

In addition, councils now have stronger and more flexible powers to tackle those, whose adverts flout the law, dangerously distract drivers and blight the countryside.

All local planning authorities in England will now have access to a new database that will enable enforcement officers to enter and pull out details of prosecutions and formal cautions against companies and individuals who have unlawfully displayed advertisements. The database will help them to build a case for prosecution within their own areas providing background to a company's history and help them to track down persistent offenders.

Many councils have already brought forward successful prosecutions and Ministers are calling for this to be replicated across the country. In Stockport and the surrounding area, 243 illegal advertisements have been removed within the last 12 months but in other areas the picture is not so encouraging. To support this, new regulations also published today update and improve the current arrangements for controlling outdoor advertisements and make the legislation more responsive to rapidly changing forms of advertising.

Yvette Cooper said:

"Many of these illegal ads are not just a blight on the countryside, they are also downright dangerous. Local councils have got the power to act  and I want to see more taking action so we don't simply see these trailer ads moving from one field to another across the local council boundaries".

Notes to editors

1. Control of Advertisements Regulations 2007 may be obtained via the Communities and Local Government website at www.communities.gov.uk and the Office of Public Sector Information website at www.opsi.gov.uk [External link]. These regulations come into force on 6 April. A Circular is being published today to explain the legislation and provide guidance for local planning authorities and businesses to help ensure that the system operates effectively.

2. The unlawful advertisements and fly-posting 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. It could also 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.

3. The database already contains information from the 18 authorities and ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns) who have already volunteered to take part.

4. The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) has recently published a leaflet of case studies called 'Blots on the Landscape - removing advertising from motorways and major roads'. It is available free of charge from pas@idea.gov.uk Tel: 020 7296 6880.

5. The National Register of Unlawful Advertising is available on the Planning Portal www.planningportal.gov.uk/lpa [External link]. The database is password protected. Local Planning Authority officers should email chris.kendall@planningportal.gsi.gov.uk to be accredited and gain access to the database.

6. The platform used to support the database is provided by iNovem Ltd.(www.inovem.com [External link]), a leading provider of online collaboration and consultation software to local planning authorities and the UK public sector. In addition to using the national database for inputting and accessing details of prosecutions, approved community members will also be able to upload photographs of the offences committed, discuss issues and share best practice.

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