Considering Building Wraps? What Legislation Affects Outdoor Prints?

In 2007, the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations was put in place by the UK Government to decide which particular advertisements are allowed to be displayed outdoors. There are various factors in play, including the location and size of outdoor prints. Here’s what you need to know before you start your building wrap project.


The 5 Standard Conditions for Outdoor Ads

All outdoor prints are required to comply with these five rules:

  1. Ads must be kept clean and tidy.
  2. Ads must be maintained in a safe condition.
  3. Ads must have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are placed upon. This includes the Highway Authority if it’s on highway land.
  4. Ads must not obscure official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs, or make the use of these types of transport hazardous in any way.
  5. Ads must be removed carefully if required to do so by the planning authority.

Outdoor ads are allowed for display without the planning authority’s consent if rules exclude it from direct control or if it falls within the provisions of one of the 16 classes of deemed consent stated in the rules. But for the most part, you’ll need to obtain the planning authority’s consent before you display your ad, which we’ll discuss here.

What Defines an “Advertisement”?

The advertisement control system covers a huge range of advertisements and signage, including:

  • Posters
  • Notices
  • Billboards
  • Fascia, projection, pole and canopy signs
  • Flags and banners

If you’re planning on using a building wrap, consult your local authority to check whether their approval is required.

Who Controls Outdoor Advertisements?

In England, the local planning authorities are responsible for the daily operation of the advertisement control system and deciding whether certain outdoor prints are permitted to be displayed or not.

Normally, the local planning authority for your area will be one of the following:

  • District council.
  • County Council.
  • London borough council (if you live in the Greater London area).
  • National Park authority (if you want to display an ad in any National Park).
  • Broads authority (if you want to display an ad in the Broads area).
  • Urban Development Corporation for an area (if you want to display an ad in an urban development area).

Advertisements Which are Excluded From Direct Control

There are nine classes of ads which are excluded from the planning authority’s direct control. These are:

  1. Ads displayed on enclosed land – including railway station forecourts, inside bus station, sports stadiums and shopping centres.
  2. Ads displayed on or in any moving vehicle or vessel – such as buses and boats.
  3. Ads which are an integral part of a building’s fabric.
  4. Ads in the form of tickets, trade names on branded goods, vending machines and petrol stations. They cannot be illuminated or exceed 0.1 square metres in area.
  5. Ads relating specifically to a pending Parliamentary or European Parliamentary, local government election or referendum. They must not be displayed longer than 14 days after the closing of the poll.
  6. Ads required by Parliamentary Order.
  7. Traffic signs.
  8. National flags of any country, the EU, Commonwealth, the UN, English County and saints’ flags associated with a particular country.
  9. Ads displayed inside buildings. They must not be illuminated or displayed within one metre of any window or external opening.

Classes of Advertisements with Deemed Consent

There are 16 classes and each come with their own particular conditions and already deemed consent. These include:

  1. “Functional advertisements” which are needed by public bodies. These are needed to give information about the services they provide. For example, a bus timetable or notice boards at swimming pools.
  2. Miscellaneous advertisements on any premises.
  3. Temporary ads displayed usually to publicise an upcoming event.
  4. Illuminated ads. But they cannot be displayed in National Parks, conservation areas or the Broads.
  5. Ads on business premises to draw attention to any commercial services. These include offices, shops, cinemas, restaurants and cafes.
  6. Ads on business forecourts. This includes restaurant terraces.
  7. Flags. There is no height limit but it can only display the name, logo or trademark of the brand.
  8. Ads on hoardings around temporary construction sites. This is allowed for three years only and brings about an environmental benefit on the surrounding area as the unsightly construction site is concealed.
  9. Ads displayed on purpose-designed highway structures such as bus shelters and information kiosks.
  10. Outdoor signs for approved Neighbourhood Watch or CCTV schemes.
  11. Directional ads for house building firms.
  12. Ads displayed inside buildings.
  13. Ads displayed on sites which have been used to display ads for the past 10 years.
  14. Ads displayed after the expiry of express consent (usually five years) as long as the planning authority hasn’t forbidden that ad or refused an application for its renewal.
  15. Balloon ads.
  16. Ads on telephone kiosks.

There are various rules and exceptions to each of the classes, including their specific size limitations, which you can read more about here.  

Advertisements Which Need Specific Permission and How to Obtain it

Some of the types of ads you will need consent for include:

  • All posters.
  • Some illuminated signs.
  • Fascia signs and projecting signs on business premises or shop fronts where the top edge is more 4.6 metres above ground level.
  • Ads on gable-ends.

To obtain consent for these ads, you need to apply to the planning authority of the area where you want to display this ad. You can get the application forms from the local Council’s Planning Department or an electronic form here.

As well as this completed application form, you also need to present illustrative plans and drawings. You may also need to pay the appropriate charge for the application. This payment must be renewed annually and the amounts vary from council to council. You can check the current charges on the application form or from the Planning Department’s area office.

How Your Application is Decided

Usually, the Planning Committee of the district council (or London borough council) will look at your application. They may consider just two issues:

  • Interests of amenity – this includes the visual characteristics of the neighbourhood and whether the ad will be noisy.
  • Public safety.

Many planning authorities have their own detailed considerations on what they look out for when reviewing applications. From size limitations to specific areas and noise pollution, it’s important that you check whether your building wrap will be allowed to be displayed before you properly get into your large format printing project.

Want to Read More on Large Format Printing?

When it comes to preparing a building wrap project, there’s so much more you need to know than the legislation. For instance, you want to ensure that your building wrap is as creative and striking as possible. And of course, you need to ensure you’ve prepared your file for your large format printer.

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