Legal and safety hurdles for roadside adverts

THE POTENTIAL for roadsides and roundabouts to be used as locations for advertising could be investigated further by Angus Council.

At the time of going to press the authority’s infrastructure services committee was poised to discuss the issue after an investigation by council officers.

Although it was decided in 2006 not to open verges and roundabouts to commercial interests, the subject was raised again in August by local councillor and infrastructure services convener David May.

Mr May asked for the marketing potential of council-owned locations to be conducted after being approached by a Montrose event organiser after they were told that placing advertising banners on council fences at roundabouts and near a local supermarket contravened council policy.

Councillors were due to discuss on Tuesday whether commercial signs would be beneficial and if community signage would enhance towns and villages. In his report, however, infrastructure services director Eric Lowson pointed out there are legal and safety issues to be considered, as well as the appropriateness of advertising.

He also said that community groups wishing to advertise would have to meet legally required public liability insurance to a minimum value of £5 million and, as advertisements fall under the control of the Town and Country Planning regulations, any advert displayed at a roadside for anything other than a statutory body would require advertisement consent.

A licence scheme could also be introduced for community advertising although this would be subject to charges to help meet the costs of its management.

Mr Lowson said: “Whilst it may be possible to help local groups in this way the complexities suggest there would be little uptake if it was necessary to implement a rigorous bureaucratic management system.”

Road safety is another major factor, and again set standards would have to be met.

Mr Lowson said: “Sightlines at roundabouts can be a particular issue and there are design guidance/requirements in the national documents setting standards. Any proposed signs or public art would need to be assessed on an individual proposal/site by site basis.

“By its nature advertising is designed to be seen and therefore the provision of advertising on roundabouts/junctions must be considered as a potential hazard.”