Several digital bus stops in Leeds are breaching planning regulations

Hi AdBlockers,

We recently discovered that several digital ads on bus stops do not respect the conditions under which they were granted planning permission. We are calling out on you, Leeds residents, to help us find as many of those ads as we can so that we report them to the Leeds City Council.

What is the issue?

As you have probably figured out, digital ads are brighter and therefore more disturbing for road users than their paper counterparts. For that reason, the rules on what they are allowed to display are quite strict: no fancy transitions, no brighter than a certain limit, not more than one ad every ten seconds… For example, for application 15/04373/ADV, the decision notice states the following

The advertisement shall display sequential static images changing no more frequently than every 10 seconds with a smooth fade between images in the interests of highway safety.

For the same application, someone sent us footage that shows ads that are clearly breaching these conditions. You can see the footage on this link. The video shows:

  • an ad with a vertical transition between two images (i.e. not a smooth fade)
  • an ad with an image slowly moving to the left (i.e. not static)
This ad shows a can moving upwards, clearly not a static image!

This is not a single occurrence and it actually happens quite often! How is it possible that ad companies feel invulnerable to the point that they would so manifestly breach planning regulations?!

What we can do

It is possible to report breaches of planning regulations to the Leeds city council. We have done that a few times, in particular for billboards that do not have planning permission (more about that in a future post). So if you find an ad similar to the one shown here, please take a video of the breach and record the location of the bus stop, as accurately as possible. Then you can

  • either send us the footage and the location at adblock.leeds[at]protonmail.com or on our facebook page, and we will report it to the council.
  • or report it yourself, on this page. Once you submit the complaint, they will send you an acknowledgment email, to which you can reply with the footage.

This is important

There is no reason why ad companies should get away with breaking the law, especially when it is there to protect us. If they start breaching planning regulations and face no consequences they wouldn’t stop there, would they? What will happen when they start using the cameras already embedded in the bus stop digital screens?

Let’s push back together, our cities do not belong to ad companies. Together, more than ever, let’s reclaim our public spaces. We can do this!

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