Adblock Hackney logo

Adblock Hackney celebrate council high-carbon ad restrictions

Adfree Cities was very pleased to learn earlier this month that Hackney Council passed a motion to include a ban on high-carbon advertising in their Advertising and Sponsorship policy. 

The motion resolves to add to the Advertising and Sponsorship Policy 2022 the words “Advertising will not be accepted if, in Hackney Council’s opinion, it is reasonably objectionable on the grounds that it could promote goods or services that contradict the council’s Climate Action Plan, for example by encouraging the use of fossil fuels.”

The policy only covers ad sites owned by Hackney Council, however restricting advertising sends a clear signal encouraging and supporting behavioural change in individuals, institutions and businesses.

Local action works

Green councillors Zoe Garbett and Alastair Binnie-Lubbock brought the motion, which was passed on November 29. Local group Adblock Hackney had campaigned for such a motion earlier this year and are now celebrating the result of their hard work, just weeks after Adblock Bristol enjoyed similar success in updating their council’s Local Plan with stronger provisions against new ads. 

As noted in the Hackney motion, polling earlier this year found that over two thirds of the British public support restrictions on advertising for environmentally damaging products, including fossil fuels, SUVs and flights. 

Speaking after the motion passed, Cllr Binnie-Lubbock said: “I was delighted to propose and pass a motion to ban high-carbon advertising. Hackney residents want to see real action on climate, not more ads for flights and SUVs. This measure proves the impact people power has and I encourage everyone to support Adfree Cities and Adblock Hackney to push for even more great wins over corporate interests in the future.”

“Advertising can be used to induce demand for “high carbon” products and services where there may be no actual need, and where the products and services run counter to the council’s stated policies, aims and objectives.”

From the Hackney Council motion.

Growing momentum

Hackney council now joins a growing list of councils that have passed similar motions to restrict high-carbon ads. Cambridgeshire, Basingstoke and Coventry councils have all passed such motions this year. 

To help more councils to do the same, Adfree Cities and the Badvertising campaign obtained legal advice from Richard Wald KC, of 39 Essex Chambers, which outlines the legal position and risk councils face in implementing high-carbon ad restrictions. 

The legal advice can be read in full here. It finds that the adoption of an advertising policy banning high-carbon advertising is squarely within the powers available to local authorities and therefore prima facie lawful.

What does the Hackney motion say?

The final part of the motion (which can be read in full here) reads as follows:

What can you do?

Do you want to see action to restrict high-carbon advertising where you live? Learn more about engaging your local councillors on this issue and passing a high-carbon ad ban through your council. 

Don’t forget to let us know about your work. Drop us an email at hello@adfreecities.org.uk.

Published by