Following Adblock Hackney’s campaign launch in March they claim success as 9 digital billboards are removed from Hackney pavements.
Hackney’s streets are now less cluttered with commercial messages and highly energy intensive digital billboards than they were last month. Street space has been vacated and returned for the use of people walking and wheeling around the borough after Hackney’s Planning Department refused JCDecaux’s application to keep the billboards, which were operating without official permission, following Adblock Hackney’s campaign to have them removed.
Adblock Hackney launched a petition on March 25th 2022 which garnered over 150 signatures opposing the planning applications which were all subsequently refused. The plucky new campaign set its sights on defeating JCDecaux, the world’s largest Out-of-Home advertising company, and won. Soon after the decision was made the company was forced to remove the 9 digital billboards.
Adblock Hackney co-founder and Green Councillor Alastair Binnie-Lubbock said:
It’s great to see an example of successful people power, taking back space that was taken to serve corporate interests rather than the public. Many of the products that these billboards promoted are damaging to people’s health, finances and the environment. Totally removing these 9 digital billboards also saves the equivalent electricity usage of 27 average UK homes.”
As well as challenging the advertising consent for such hoardings as part of the planning process, Adblock Hackney points out that it’s also a Highways Act requirement that such structures on public highways (pavements) confer a public benefit. Therefore, any boards should be first and foremost council information boards, not commercial advertising with incidental, occasional, council adverts.
Former chair of Hackney’s Planning Committee and former-Labour councillor Vincent Stops said on Twitter:
Some councils have been offered 15% air time so they can say it’s a council information board! But I think that’s a scam. If it looks like commercial advertising targeting motorists then it probably is. Councils should not be allowing their pavements to be obstructed in this way.”
The contract for all of the other 59 pavement based billboards in Hackney expires on 31st August 2022. Adblock Hackney is encouraging members of the public to sign a petition to tell the Mayor, TfL and local councillors if you want them all gone.
Adblock Hackney will be holding an information meeting at The Clapton Hart pub in Lower Clapton on the 4th of August at 7pm where people can hear more about the campaign and how to get involved.