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A user's guide to the advertisement questionnaire

This questionnaire has been designed to provide a user-friendly way to establish whether consent is required to display an advertisement. Certain types of advertisement do not need permission as they enjoy deemed consent. Deemed consent is the term given to the display of certain types of advertisements which can be carried out without formal Advertisement Consent. The legislation setting out these circumstances is the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulation 1984.

Please note that while this questionnaire attempts to explain the above legislation and give a firm indication as to whether advertisement consent is required for any proposed advertisements, this questionnaire does not provide a definitive answer to a query. It is strongly recommended that contact is made with the planning authority to provide a definitive answer to a query.

  • On the opening page click Start Survey
  • On the front page the different classes, including sub-sections, are set out {as defined by the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulation 1984}. Each sub-section is accompanied by an explanation as to the types of advertisements covered. Select the relevant sub-section that your query relates to and then click Next
  • Simply answer yes or no to the question asked, until you are informed whether advertisement consent is required or not
  • The questions you have answered will be displayed on the screen
  • Should you be informed that advert consent is required, you will be able to download the appropriate application form from the hyperlink which will appear at the bottom of the screen
  • If you wish to return to the front page, simply click Previous

Complete the Questionnaire

Glossary of terms

While the questionnaire has been designed to be user friendly, certain terms need to be included for accuracy. The following hyperlink provides a list of definitions of terms which may be difficult to understand: Glossary

The term advertisement is described in the 1984 Regulations as a word, letter, sign, placard or device used to advertise or make an announcement or direction. It may be illuminated or non-illuminated.

The advertisement control system therefore covers a very wide range of advertisements and signs including:

  • posters and notices
  • placards and boards
  • fascia signs and projecting signs
  • pole signs
  • canopy signs
  • models and devices
  • advance signs and directional signs
  • estate agents’ boards
  • captive balloon advertising (not balloons in flight)
  • flag advertisements
  • price markers and price displays
  • traffic signs
  • town and village name-signs

Memorials and railway signals are not regarded as advertisements

Who controls outdoor advertisements?

Planning authorities are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Regulations through the advertisement control system, and decide whether a particular advertisement should be permitted or not.

When determining applications for advertisement consent planning authorities have regard only to considerations of amenity and public safety. The planning authority cannot consider the content of advertisements.

Particular care must be taken when signs are displayed on or close to listed buildings so that they do not detract from the character and appearance of the building. Even signs that are normally permitted within the Advertisement Regulations require separate Listed Building Consent if they are attached to listed buildings. If the building on which the advert is to be displayed is listed it is likely that you will need to submit a separate application for Listed Building Consent. Please contact the Development Management Team of the Planning Service to ascertain whether additional permissions/ consents are required.

Advertisements located on or within the public road

As well as the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 1984, the Council can also control adverting through the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

The Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 makes it an offence to place anything on or within a public road, including the display of advertisements, without the consent of the Roads Authority. This could include such things as temporary signs, sandwich boards, and the display of goods outside shop frontages.

Specifically, the Act contains the following provisions:

  1. It is an offence to place anything on a road so as to cause an obstruction except with the Roads Authority's consent (Section 59).
  2. A person who places an obstruction on a road may be required by the Roads Authority to remove it forthwith. If this requirement is not complied with, or the person cannot be readily traced, the roads authority may remove the obstruction and recover its expenses from the person (Section 59).
  3. It is an offence to affix a sign upon the surface of a public road or upon a tree, traffic sign, milestone, or structure on or in a road without lawful authority (Section 100).

It is therefore strongly recommend that contact is made with the Council's Traffic Section to determine whether a proposed advertisement is relevant in relation to the provisions of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.

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Last updated: 25 February 2016

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