Planning Portal

PPS 17: Control of Outdoor Advertisements
Policy AD 1: Public Safety

4.9 Advertisements by their very nature are designed to attract the attention of passers-by and therefore have the potential to impact on public safety.
4.10 In assessing the impact of an advertisement on public safety the Department will have regard to its effect upon the safe use and operation of any form of traffic or transport on land (including the safety of pedestrians), on or over water or in the air.
4.11 The main types of advertisements which are likely to pose a threat to public safety are:-
  1. those which obstruct or impair sight lines at corners, bends or at a junction or at any point of access to a road;
  2. those which, by virtue of their size or siting, would obstruct or confuse a road user’s view or reduce the clarity or effectiveness of a traffic sign or traffic signal, or those which would be likely to distract road users because of their unusual design;
  3. signs which leave insufficient clearance on or above any part of the road or footpath, or insufficient lateral clearance for vehicles on the carriageway;
  4. those which are located so as to impair the safety of any person looking at them because there is no protection from moving vehicles or where the footpath is narrow at the point where the public stop to look at them;
  5. illuminated signs:
    • where the means of illumination is directly visible from any part of the road;
    • which, because of their colour, could be mistaken for, or confused with, traffic lights or any other authorised signals; and
    • which, because of their size or brightness, could result in glare or dazzle, or otherwise distract road users especially in wet or misty weather;
  6. signs which incorporate moving or apparently moving elements in their display, especially where the whole message is not displayed at one time therefore increasing the time taken to read the whole message;
  7. those which resemble traffic signs because of their colour or content or those which embody directional or other traffic elements and which could therefore cause confusion with traffic signs;
  8. signs sited or designed primarily to be visible from a motorway or other special road; and
  9. those which cause possible interference with a navigational light or an aerial beacon.
4.12 In assessing the impact on public safety, the vital consideration for the Department will be whether the advertisement itself, or the exact location proposed for its display, is likely to be so distracting or confusing that it creates a hazard to, or endangers, people in the vicinity, be they drivers, cyclists or pedestrians.
4.13 The Department will also bear in mind that, on occasion, some advertisements can positively contribute to public safety, for example, by directing drivers and others to their destination.
4.14 Thoughtful siting and illumination can overcome many of the potential hazards listed above. Public safety issues are less likely to occur where an advertisement is proposed within an existing industrial or commercial centre, and when the level of illumination proposed is appropriate to the location.
4.15 In assessing the brightness of signs, these will be expected to accord with the guidance contained in the Institute of Lighting Engineers Technical Report No 5 (2nd edition).
4.16 Where appropriate the Department will consult other relevant public bodies who have an interest in the safe display of advertisements. In particular, the Department will take into account the advice of the Department for Regional Development’s Roads Service Opens link in a new browser window on matters of road safety.
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