What do Bristol’s local election results mean for the city’s Adscape?

With the 2021 local election results in, we reflect on what the change in Bristol’s political landscape means for corporate advertising on our streets

In the run-up to the elections on May 6th, Adblockers got busy emailing local election candidates in wards across Bristol with two key questions:

1. Will you support a new planning policy of ‘No New Billboards’ in the city? This would mean the council rejects planning applications for new digital advertising screens.

2. If elected,
 will you commit to ending advertising for high carbon products such as SUVs, airlines and fossil fuel companies on Council-controlled ad sites?  

Now that the election and our most recent lobbying effort are completed, what do the results tell us about the future of outdoor advertising in Bristol – if anything? With just 14 of 70 City Council seats won by the Conservatives and 8 by the Lib Dems, a massive surge in Green votes means that Labour and Green candidates now represent the majority of Bristol’s population, as these parties took 24 seats each. 

Earlier this year, Adblock’s campaigning efforts were rewarded as Bristol City Council took the strong step of banning ads for junk food, payday loans and gambling in council-owned spaces – including billboards, bus stops, digital screens and social media. The new Advertising & Sponsorship Policy was backed by Labour Mayor Marvin Rees and had unanimous support from the (predominately Labour) Cabinet at the time. But will the new Council go further and support our two demands?

The addition of 13 new Council seats for the Greens could well be a positive sign as the party recently incorporated banning advertising for high-carbon goods and services into policy at a National level.

As the election dust settles, Adblock Bristol will be keeping in touch with Bristol’s councillors as we work towards a city free from corporate outdoor advertising. You can help keep advertising on the Council’s agenda by emailing your local councillor to let them know this matters to you:

  1. Find your local ward councillor and their contact details here
  2. Email them, making sure to include your full name and postcode so they know you’re in their ward
  3. Include our two demands, but personalise your message with your own priorities 
  4. You can also link to this useful briefing document containing clear information about policy options for Bristol 

And finally, let us know any responses you receive!

Before you go, sign our ongoing petition for the Council to prohibit advertising for products and services with high carbon footprints, such as flights, fossil fuel companies and highly polluting cars.

Get in touch at adblockbristol@gmail.com

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