STOP THE PROLIFERATION OF OUTDOOR DIGITAL ADVERTISING SCREENS

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We are signing this petition to demand that action is taken now by the Government to halt the inexorable spread of digital advertising screens; polluting our towns, roads, neighbourhoods, parks and countryside. 

Advertisers too need to know that enough is enough: they have ample opportunity to sell their wares on our TVs, computers and phones – our environment should be left alone.

Digital advertising screens are encroaching more and more into our local environment: we see them along roadsides, on phone boxes and bus shelters, on underpasses and bridges, the sides of buildings, in shopping centres, airports, stations and sportsgrounds.  We are being bombarded by commercial messages from giant TV screens every time we go outside.  We can switch off our phones or televisions but digital outdoor advertising cannot be avoided.

The economics of this form of commercial messaging make proliferation of screens compelling and inevitable without tighter regulation.  Our planning rules are out of date and inadequate to deal with them.  For instance – in an age where we all have mobile phones - applications for new phone boxes have increased by 900 per cent in 2 years!  This is simply to display advertising.  Read more here.

The enormous outdoor screens that are springing up along roadsides are reaching farther into our countryside.  They look terrible, consume huge amounts of power, introduce light pollution and their construction causes environmental damage.  Unfortunately, planning rules treat them like old-fashioned billboards, even when they’re five storeys high and permanently lit.  Read more here.

If you want to get a glimpse of a future without tighter controls, try Googling DOOH.

We believe that there is an urgent need to deal with the shortcomings of the current regulations and we are calling on the Government to address the issues as a matter of urgency.

  • Planning guidelines are written in such a way that there is a natural presumption in favour of the installation, and there are many categories of “deemed consent”.
  • In line with regular planning applications, consultation is typically limited to the immediate location of the proposed site whilst the impact of an installation on visual amenity is far more widespread and can have a profound effect on the character of a neighbourhood. Objections from local groups often seem to be ignored by planners.
  • Planning guidelines recognise that advertising is designed to be looked at and therefore is always, to some degree, distracting.  This means advertising screens may be approved even when there are real concerns over safety. The truth is that we simply don't know the risks involved. Why introduce unnecessary distractions to our streets simply for the sake of advertising profit?
  • Because the consents are time limited, visual amenity arguments are treated differently to those used when considering a permanent structure. “Not in keeping” objections can be completely ignored.
  • Councils have a serious conflict of interest since they can raise significant revenue by installing screens on their own land; and they are all looking for alternative means of raising funds.

We call on the government to prevent any new digital advertising screens being approved until the regulations have been reviewed, the impacts of digital outdoor advertising are clearly understood and councils are provided with clear evidence-based guidelines to decide when, if ever, such screens are safe, welcome and appropriate



Today: TakeDown is counting on you

TakeDown TheAds needs your help with “michael.gove.mp@parliament.uk, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: STOP THE PROLIFERATION OF OUTDOOR DIGITAL ADVERTISING SCREENS”. Join TakeDown and 314 supporters today.