Unauthorised advert (flyposting)

Flyposting [from the Town and Country Planning (Control of Adverts) (England) Regulations 2007] is ‘the display of advertising material on land or premises without the consent of the owner or occupier’.

Flyposting can be attached or pasted onto:

  • buildings
  • lampposts
  • railings
  • bollards

and other street furniture.

Flyposting may be different sizes, shapes and either:

  • posters
  • boards
  • banners
  • sleeves (over bollards)
  • signs

If it is displayed without consent, it is always illegal.

Flyposting is illegal and can:

  • encourage anti-social behaviour
  • Negatively affect the street scene and quality of the area
  • increase the fear of crime
  • affect how people feel about the town
  • dangerously distract vehicle drivers

At Southend-on-Sea City Council, we help businesses try to reduce flyposting by:

  • giving advice
  • actively working

If this is not possible enforcement action can be taken.

Frequently asked questions

How do I report Flyposting

You can fill out our online form to report a flyposting incident.

What powers do Southend-on-Sea City Council have?

Depending on the case we have different powers that can be used.


If we can identify a business, Section 224 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows for:

  • prosecution
  • a fine of up to £2,500 per flyposting, if found guilty
  • fines of up to £250 for each day the offence continues


Section 225 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows us to:

  • remove
  • obliterate

any flyposting that does not clearly show the person or business that:

  • displayed it
  • is benefitting from it

A legal notice will be given to businesses, whose information is shown on their adverts. This will allow two days for the unauthorised adverts to be removed.

Recovery of costs

Section 34 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 allows us to claim costs for the removal or obliteration of illegally displayed posters or placards (flyposting).

Costs are recoverable from the person who put up the flyposting. If unidentifiable, then from the business or person whose:

  • goods
  • services
  • concerns

are publicised (i.e., the beneficiaries of the advert).

Removal from Street Furniture

Section 132 of the Highways Act 1980 allows us to immediately remove flyposting affixed upon the surface of the highway or any:

  • tree
  • structure
  • works on or in the highway

Any flyposting that:

  • is dangerous to people using the highway
  • hides/delays the view of traffic signs

will be moved immediately. This includes flyposting that distracts drivers of vehicles.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Section 43 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 (amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005) means we can give a fixed penalty notice of £150 (per flyposting) to the person who ‘personally affixed the advert’ (i.e., person putting up flyposting.) Not the business or person advertised on it.

Can I ignore a letter I receive about my business being featured on flyposting?

We usually give advice and information to businesses before taking enforcement action against them.

We would prefer businesses understand that flyposting is illegal, and stop it without having to:

  • give a formal notice
  • prosecute them

We recommend a business:

  • does not ignore letters
  • check they fully understand the effects of flyposting
  • look at other advertising options

When would a notice be given by Southend-on-Sea City Council?

We will give a notice instructing a business to remove all their flyposting if advice and information has previously been given to them.

If the notice is ignored, we will seek to claim any costs to remove the flyposting from the business.

If the business is a repeat offender, prosecution may be the only option.

If I receive a notice, what would it say?

The notice, under section 225 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, will give you a chance to remove the unauthorised advert (flyposting) within two days (48 hours).

What happens if I ignore the notice or refuse to follow it?

If the business receiving the notice fails to follow it within the given time and we are forced to remove the flyposting, we will seek to claim costs for the removal of the flyposting.

Can failure to follow the notice result in prosecution?

If a business has failed to follow the notice within the time given, we will usually seek to claim costs for removing the flyposting.

If a business or individual is a repeat offender, we will have no option but to prosecute.

What happens if someone else placed up the flyposting?

In the past if the flyposting were displayed “without knowledge or consent” of the business or the individual on the flyposting they could say they had:

“Paid someone to create and display the adverts, but not consented to this being done illegally.”

This defence was changed by Section 33 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, whereby ‘consent’ was removed.

So, businesses or individuals benefitting from the flyposting cannot avoid prosecution by claiming they had not agreed the specific location of the advert (flyposting).

What happens if a business is unable to follow a notice?

If a business has no records or partial records of where the flyposting has taken place, they can either:

  • Accept the recovery of costs for any flyposting they are unable to remove.
  • Give a written statement regarding the individual or company employed to affix or place up the flyposting.

Where information is given, we may not claim costs for removing them, choosing to give a Fixed Penalty notice of £150 per flyposting to the person who put them up.

I pay a company to advertise my business and did not agree to adverts (flyposting) being displayed illegally.

We will ask for information from the:

  • business
  • venue

about who physically placed up the flyposting.

If the adverts were given to a:

  • company
  • individual

in good faith to place up legally and were then placed illegally, we expect the business or venue featured in the adverts to support our enquiries.

A Fixed Penalty notice of £150 per flyposting can be issued to the person or company who put them up illegally.

Is the fly posted material stored and returned?

We have no legal duty to return flyposting to the business featured in the advert.

Flyposting that is removed will not be stored or saved; it will be destroyed.

What if the unauthorised advert was a banner placed on street furniture?

If a banner is:

  • found on street furniture.
  • is the first offence by a business.

it will be removed and stored temporarily for 28 days to allow the company to reclaim it. If it is not reclaimed, it will be destroyed.

Any further illegally displayed banners from the same businesses will automatically be destroyed after we have given them advice.

There is no legal responsibility to store and return illegally displayed banners.

Do some adverts have ‘deemed’ consent?

Yes, deemed consent is given to some adverts in certain situations, e.g., temporary adverts about a local event of:

  • religious
  • educational
  • cultural
  • political
  • social
  • recreational character

that are not being promoted or carried out for commercial purposes can be allowed.


  • cannot be displayed earlier than 28 days before the first day on which the event or activity is due to take place
  • must also be removed within 14 days after the end of the event or activity

Temporary adverts related to the visit of a travelling:

  • circus
  • fair
  • similar entertainment

are allowed but cannot be displayed earlier than 14 days before the first performance or opening of the entertainment.

Adverts must be removed within 7 days after the:

  • last performance
  • closing of the entertainment

14 days before the advert is first displayed, the local planning authority must be notified in writing of the first date and site at which the advert is to be displayed.

If the advert is considered dangerous, regardless of it having ‘deemed consent’, it will be removed.

Contact recycling and waste

Telephone: 01702 215006

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