Ads placed illegally alongside motorways and other major roads could soon disappear after the Government unveiled new regulations to combat the problem.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) issued guidance to councils this week, as part of revised advertising regulations. The Government says the illegal ads are a danger to drivers, claiming that 23% of drivers say they have swerved across lanes because of roadside distractions – such as advertisements.
DCLG junior minister Yvette Cooper says the Government wants to clamp down on unauthorised ads in fields and on trailers, and urged local councils to work closely with the Highways Agency.
“Too many of our motorways are now strewn with illegal trailer ads, which cause hazards for drivers and are unsightly. Applications need to go through the proper planning system so they can be appropriately assessed,” she states.
A consultation exercise on changes to the regulations on outdoor ads has also been launched and will last for eight weeks. The new regulations are expected to come into force by April next year.
As part of the consultation, the DCLG has issued advice to local planning authorities on how to deal with unlawful ads, as well as guidance to councils on the planning system for ads. The Government also wants councils to provide information to build up a database of those who persistently display illegal ads or carry out fly-posting. The database is expected to launch later in the year.