Bus stops don’t need ad screens!

Hot on the heels of a very positive recent meeting between Adblock Cardiff and Cardiff
Council (with very welcome support from our colleagues at Adfree Cities), the group have
had a chance to object to a real-life example of unnecessary and wasteful public advertising.

Clear Channel UK recently applied to erect a new advertising screen as part of a planned
new bus stop next to Queen Street station, one of the busiest rail stations in Wales. Adblock
Cardiff are clear that such a screen would not only pose a distraction to drivers, cyclists and
pedestrians on a busy route next to a major transport interchange, but it would also prove
immensely damaging to our environment and public amenity.

We have set out our concerns in an objection (below), and were heartened to see other
citizens of Cardiff adding their voice too via the council’s planning web portal. There’s still
time for others to do the same via the link above!

This is an important test of whether Cardiff Council are good to their word and will restrict
these sorts of dangerous, unnecessary and environmentally-damaging ad spaces.

Plan for the bus stop shelter including a digital ad screen.

Our objection

I am writing on behalf of the group Adblock Cardiff to register an objection to this application for a digital advertising screen as part of a bus stop adjacent to Queen Street station. We have no objection to the bus stop itself, but would urge
Cardiff Council to refuse permission for the digital advertising screen on the basis of ROAD SAFETY and AMENITY for the reasons set out below.

Road safety

We are concerned about the intrusive nature of the advertising screen, with similar screens
elsewhere usually changing ads every 10 seconds. This significantly changes the street
scene but moreover acts as a distraction to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, making a busy
road by a major transport interchange even more dangerous.

Amenity

Powering one digital ad screen of this size uses the same amount of electricity per year as
four average UK homes [1]. At the time of anticipated energy shortages and a climate
emergency (which Cardiff Council itself has recognised [2]), we do not believe that adding
further such advertising screens is in the public’s best interest.

Furthermore, we know that advertising has a deleterious effect on citizens’ wellbeing;
testimonials last year from over 100 people living near to two digital screens revealed that
the screens have a serious impact on mental health. They disrupt sleep and cause a
feeling of neglect for the area where they are placed. [3]

In light of these factors, we urge you to refuse permission for the digital advertising screen
component of the application.

References:

[1] Adblock Bristol (2018) The electricity cost of digital adverts, AdFree Cities website:
https://adfreecities.org.uk/2019/11/the-electricity-cost-of-digital-adverts/ (accessed 2
December 2022).
[2] Cardiff Council (2022) One Planet Cardiff webpage: https://www.oneplanetcardiff.co.uk
(accessed 2 December 2022).
[3] Adblock Bristol (2021) Living next to digital billboards, AdFree Cities website:
https://adfreecities.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/living-next-to-digital-billboards-
M32.pdf
(accessed 2 December 2022).

Published by