Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, councils can designate areas within which people must buy a licence to hand out leaflets. Nearly a third of councils now restrict leafleting, and licences are prohibitively expensive.
These rules have been catastrophic for theatres, village halls, comedy clubs and small nightclubs, which rely on leafleting, but cannot afford such fees.
A flyer ban in Leicester Square caused the collapse of several comedy nights. One Women’s Institute was threatened with a fine for handing out leaflets about its art exhibition. Oxford student societies were asked to pay £100 a month for leafleting.
Leafleting is a key civic freedom, with a long tradition in this country, and should not be restricted without good reason. Litter can be dealt with through the proper provision of litter bins and other common-sense measures, rather than restrictions on people’s rights to use public space.
The 2005 Act already provides exemption for political and religious leafleting, or leafleting on behalf of a charity. The Government should amend the Act, to provide an additional exemption for leafleting for small-scale cultural and community events.
Leaflet laws are killing comedy, say campaigners, Daily Telegraph
Letter to Daily Telegraph - signed by comedians, musicians, promoters
Give us back ancient leafleting rights, says Lib Dem peer, BBC News
Manifesto Club Campaign Against Leafleting Bans
Licensed leafleting means lost liberties in Britain, Free Speech Debate