What is fly posting?
There is no formal definition of fly-posting. However, it is generally taken to be the display of advertising material on buildings and street furniture without the consent of the owner, contrary to the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007. It is a method sometimes used by groups to cheaply advertise an event, most commonly used by organisers and entertainment venues to promote music shows, car boot sales or fetes. Fly-posted advertisements can be seen tied to road signs, pasted on buildings or the windows of empty shops, stuck into grass verges or tied on road-side railings.
Fly posting is illegal
There are a number of pieces of legislation under which fly-posting can be controlled. The principle mechanism is s.224 and S.225 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. However, other powers exist under the Highways Act 1980 and other local legislation. S.224(3) of the 1990 Planning Act makes it an offence for any person to display an advertisement in contravention of the Regulations. It is illegal to fly-post on land owned by Dover District Council or Kent County Council (Kent Highways) .
It is also illegal to fly-post on private land without consent of the landowner and, in some cases, without permission from Dover District Council (Some advertising does not require express advertisement consent from Dover District Council- please see ‘what can I do to promote my event’ below.
Illegal fly posting includes putting posters or banners on roads, verges, street signs, street furniture, road-side railings or lamp posts where they can cause obstruction, obliterate road signs, distract drivers or even cause a danger to pedestrians and road users. They can also spoil the appearance of an area.
Although events being promoted are often very worthy and popular, we have to apply the law fairly and can remove or obliterate any placard or poster displayed in contravention of the Advertisements Regulations. We may also prosecute or fine the advertiser, organiser or the owner of the venue being advertised.
Fly-posting carries a maximum fine of £2,500 and a fixed penalty charge of £80 may be imposed for each poster illegally displayed.
So what can I do to promote my event?
You should consider using legal alternatives like local radio, newspapers, magazines and town and village newsletters. Local newspapers and radio often have a ‘what’s on’ section. You could submit a press release or, to guarantee space or airtime, you could consider paid-for advertising. Shop owners will often put posters in their windows for a small fee.
You can also put your posters, signs or banners on land where the event is due to take place but you must firstly obtain the landowner’s permission. If you are advertising a local event of a religious, educational, cultural, political, social or recreational nature you will not in accordance with Class 3(D) of the Advertisement Regulations require express advertisement consent providing:
- The event or activity is not being carried out for commercial purposes.
- The advertisement does not exceed 0.6 of a square metre.
- The advertisement is not displayed earlier than 28 days before the event or activity is due to take place.
- The advertisement is removed within 14 days after the end of the event or activity.
- No letters, figures, symbols or similar features of the design of the advert are over 0.75 of a metre in height, or 0.3 of a metre in height if they are in any Area of Special Control.
- The advertisement is not illuminated.
- No part of the advertisement is more than 4.6 metres above ground- level, or 3.6 metres in an Area of Special Control.
Advertising for events, even on private land, may require express advertisement consent if it falls foul of any of the above qualifying criteria.
For further information about the exemptions or to seek express advertisement consent contact Dover District Council’s Customer Services Team on 01304 872486/872428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I report fly-posting?
If you witness fly-posting on land owned by Dover District Council or Kent County Council- which includes parks and open spaces, road and verges or on street furniture or road railings please tell us about it:
Please provide us with the following information:
- Exact location
- Approximate number of fly posters
- Approximate size of fly-posting
- Advertiser details (if identified)
- Venue details (if identified)
- Date and time of offence and description of persons responsible (if known)