Petition to Reform Restrictions On Leafleting sign now

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, UK councils can designate areas within which people must buy a licence to hand out leaflets. Nearly a third of councils now restrict leafleting, and licences are prohibitively expensive - £350 for a Saturday in Basildon, £50 per person per day in Oldham and Rugby, £262 per distributor in Wolverhampton.

These rules have been catastrophic for local organisations such as theatres, village halls, comedy clubs and small nightclubs, which rely on leafleting to build an audience, but cannot afford such fees.

A flyer ban in Leicester Square caused the collapse of several comedy nights and a dramatic reduction of audiences. One Women’s Institute was threatened with a fine for handing out leaflets about their art exhibition. Oxford student societies and arts events were asked to pay £100 a month for leafleting. The leafleting licence system in Brighton caused the decline of small experimental music nights.

Leafleting is a key civic freedom, with a long tradition in this country, and should not be restricted without good reason. Litter can be dealt with through the proper provision of litter bins and other common sense measures, rather than restrictions on people's rights to use public space.

We call on the government to amend the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, to provide an exemption for leafleting in relation to small-scale cultural and community events. The Act already provides exemption for political and religious leafleting, or leafleting on behalf of a charity. A wider exemption would avoid the unnecessary penalisation of small-scale events that are so valuable to community life.

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Josie AppletonBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
UK Government

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arts, bans, civil liberties, community, leafleting, liberty, public space, red tape, regulation

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