Planning Matters

The latest ISA-UK Powered by the BSGA technical guides cover PLANNING are now complete. Members can find and download them in the Members Area. Guideline K 1.1 covers planning matters in England., Guideline K 1.2 covers planning matters in Wales.

The ISA-UK monitors the planning laws of local councils in order to protect members from regulations that are are unnecessary and restrictive. Our work has prevent councils from prohibiting illuminated signage in shop windows, colour restrictions, etc.

This work is ongoing and is available to members in full in the members area. ISA-UK intervention has saved the industry thousands of pounds, and will continue to protect the entire sign industry in the future.

You can also see the planning activities the ISA-UK has been involved with in our Planning Matters Archive.

We strongly recommend that every member of the ISA-UK avail themselves of a free download of the Outdoor Advertisements and Signs: A guide for Advertisers from this link here.

This guide aims to explain, to those wanting to display an outdoor advertisement or sign, how the system of advertisement control works in England.

The booklet is arranged in separate sections and there are numerous illustrations which may show you how the system affects the type of advertisement or sign you want to display.

This booklet is only a guide. It does not include every condition or limitation for every class of those advertisements or signs which are normally permitted.

For full details see the The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 and Circular 03/07: Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.


Planning Portal

ISA-UK members will advise if your signage requirement requires planning permission and can submit your advertisement consent planning application on your behalf.

If you are applying on behalf of your own company, acting for a client, or require a ISA-UK member to submit the advertisement planning application on your behalf, we recommend that it is submitted online, via the Government Planning Portal’s online planning application facility.

Planning Portal

Full details of the planning application process can be found on the government web site

The Control of Advertising Regulations

The various regulations relating to the control of advertisements, which apply in the four countries of the United Kingdom, form part of the planning control system.

Responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the advertisement control system rests with: England, Scotland and Wales * – In general local planning authorities, normally the City, District or Borough Council, or the London Borough Council, in the Greater London area, are responsible.

Northern Ireland – The Planning Service, which is an agency within the Department of the Environment, administers planning functions.

* There are however exceptions to this general rule, when the advertisement is to be displayed in any National Park, within the Broads or within an urban development area.

If the planning authority refuses consent for an advertisement, or grants consent subject to conditions, or requires the removal of an existing lawful advertisement, there is a right to appeal against their decision. In England, this appeal is to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. In Scotland, it is to the Minister for Planning within the Scottish Government. In Wales, it is to the Minister for Planning in the Welsh Assembly. In Northern Ireland, it is to the Planning Appeals Commission within the Northern Ireland Office Planning Service.

There are three different groups of outdoor advertisements.

These are:

  • advertisements which the rules exclude from the planning authority’s direct control
  • advertisements for which the rules give a ‘deemed consent’ so that the planning authority’s consent is not needed, provided your advertisement is within the rules
  • advertisements for which the planning authority’s ‘express consent’ is always needed

The advertisement control system covers a wide range of advertisements and signs, which include:

  • posters and notices
  • placards and boards
  • fascia, projecting, pole and canopy signs
  • models and devices
  • advance 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

All outdoor advertisements must comply with the following five ‘standard conditions’, whether they require the planning authority’s express consent or not.

They must:

  • be kept clean and tidy
  • be kept in a safe condition
  • have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are displayed (this includes the Highway Authority if the sign is to be placed on highway land)
  • not obscure, or hinder the interpretation of official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs, or otherwise make hazardous the use of these types of transport
  • be removed carefully where so required by the planning authority

The Regulations themselves are the definitive documents. However, as is often the case, they do not make easy reading and other documents such as Outdoor Advertisements and Signs: a guide for advertisers, published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), may be more useful for people who need to apply the regulations. Download your copy from here.

The ISA-UK have published two Technical Guidelines for members, K1.1 and K1.2, detailing the Control of Advertisements Regulations for England and Wales respectively.

These can be downloaded in pdf format from the Members Area.