Tuesday, 6 December 2016

£2500 threat for breaching advertising consent

A WRAF veteran has been threatened with a £2,500 fine for breaching advertising consent for  flying a flag in memory of fallen soldiers and to celebrate Christmas in her own garden.

Unfortunately the flag and flagpole in question does not benefit from advertisement consent under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007 and the unauthorised display of advertisements is a criminal offence liable for prosecution. This could incur a fine not exceeding £2,500 for each advertisement displayed.
The letter was sent by Broxtowe Borough Council.

The Prankster is concerned why councils are happy to threaten members of the public for breaching advertising regulations, but turn a blind eye to thousands of breaches by companies in car parks up and down the country.

ParkingEye, for instance, according to their own employees, deliberately do not apply for advertising consent as this costs both time and money. They only retrospectively apply is they get caught out.

Many other parking companies similarly flout the regulations, even though their own code of practice requires them to conform.
2.4 When there is relevant legislation and related guidance, this will define the overall standard of conduct for all AOS members. All AOS members must be aware of their legal obligations and implement the relevant legislation and guidance when operating their businesses.
This is of course unfair to those companies who do abide by the rules, as they will operate as a cost disadvantage to the abusers. This is also unfair to ordinary taxpayers. Councils are depriving themselves of much needed revenue by not demanding that car park owners pay the correct fees to apply for advertising consent, and by not fining habitual offenders £2,500 per advertisement displayed. This will have a knock on effect as if councils do not raise money to cover costs in one way, they must raise it in another, ultimately reflecting in the level of council tax.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Santa too....

  2. Similar thing happened to me. A neighbour complained that our builder had "erected an advert" on our land adjacent to the highway. The builder had left a sign at the end of our drive with the company contact details (which I view as good manners during building works in case there is a problem.)

    Leeds city council sent an enforcement officer out the same day, with paperwork threatening prosecution if it wasn't removed. After I had explained that the sign didn't belong to me, the officer proceeded to remove the sign as part of the enforcement action.

    I complained to the same council 14 months ago about the Athena ANPR cameras and signs in Lidl carpark. The matter is still "under investigation".

    Definitely one rule for normal people and one for everyone else.

  3. She's not flying a "flag", though, is she? The Union Flag is a flag. That blue santa thing isn't. Fair's fair.

  4. Does anybody know if ParkingEye operate any sites in Broxtowe? If so there will almost certainly be no advertising consent and a complaint of maladministration could be lodged against the council on grounds of unfair and inconsistent application of the law.

    1. If there is a local Asda, Aldi, Home Bargains or The Range in the town, then almost inevitably Parking Eye will be somewhere nearby - these are all unhappy hunting grounds for local motorists.

  5. It would appear councils can't back date authority. see extract from council letter.
    The Council does not hold any information recording that the Council has granted consent to display Parking Eye’s sign advertisement for any period prior to 3rd February 2015. The Council may only grant consent from the date of the decision.

    1. The foremost expert planning authorities in the land agree! A typical opinion is that: ".....if an advert is granted retrospective consent, that
      consent only applies from the date of the decision and up to that date the sign would have been unlawful." My own survey, across dozens of
      controversial sites across England and Wales, has
      produced results from the respective LPA's showing almost invariably that advert consent cannot be back-dated. One council, Halton BC, even stated (Ref: 15/00401/ADV) that technically retrospective ad consent cannot be given! (this
      relates to a car park where the cameras were
      catching cars driving on roads OUTSIDE a hospital site!. The cameras and signs weren't
      operating correctly until the spring of 2016.) Both ATA/AOS CoP's require operators to obey the law, else they are precluded from accessing DVLA records (as per para 111 at the Supreme Court in the Beavis case). Time we all claimed our parking charges back!

  6. No planning permission for signs at Fistral Beach, Newquay. Cornwall Council stance: can't be arsed.

  7. Flags are exempt from control under the Advertising Regs 2007: "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."

    The veteran should be appealing this decision, or maybe get a tame lawyer to fight on her behalf.