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Control of advertising boards on the highway pavements of the Bradford District

What is an A-board?

An 'A-board' is a board or pavement sign placed on the highway and used to advertise businesses and/or their products. For example, an a-board may:

  • be made of wood, plastic or metal
  • hang from a frame
  • swing or swirl
  • be propped up against a wall.

What is classed as a public highway?

'Public highway' in this instance is defined as a footway, verge, carriageway or public right of way between the boundaries of private property which could be adopted or un-adopted.

Dedicated park land and private land are not classed as public highway. We do not have any powers to enforce removal of A-boards on private land next to the public highway.

If the ownership of land is disputed the alleged owner will be asked to provide evidence to the contrary to that recorded by the definitive Highway Record and/or Land Registry.

Please note:

  1. Un-adopted highway may show that you have ownership on the title deeds. However, the existence of a public highway on this land supersedes any land ownership rights. The Highway Authority has precedence in legal consideration of activities in the highway land over the land owner.
  2. Under Section 31 of the Highways Act the designation of highway may also arise from the use of land for an uninterrupted period of 20 years. Therefore the Council may consider that land which has not formally been dedicated or adopted is appropriately designated as highway.  

District wide A-board ban

The placing of A-boards on the public highway poses a nuisance and potential danger to highway users, particularly to sight impaired, disabled or vulnerable people.

Bradford Council's Executive Committee voted to impose a district wide ban on advertising A-boards on the public highway, following a successful 12 month trial ban within designated areas of the district.

The ban came into force on 1 April 2018.

Which laws and legislation allow the Council to impose an A-board ban?

The following enforcement legislation allows the Council impose an A-board ban:

  • Highways Act 1980, Section 130 – Protection of public rights.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 137 – Penalty for wilful obstruction.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 143 – Power to remove structures from highways.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 148 – Penalty for depositing things or pitching booths etc. on the highway.
  • Highways Act 1980, Section 149 – Removal of things so deposited on the highway as to be a nuisance etc.
  • Town Police Clauses Act 1847, Section 28 -
  • Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Part 4 – Community Protection Notices.

What should I do if I see an A-board on the highway?

If you see an A-board on the highway you can report it to us by calling 01274 431000.

How will enforcement action be taken?

The following procedure will be followed if an A-board is found on the public highway:

  1. A Council officer will visit the site of the A-board. They will collect evidence including photographs, the location of the A-board, the name and contact details of the business.
  2. We will contact the relevant business or owner of the A-board and ask them to remove the A-board from the highway permanently by no later than the close of the current working day. We may also place a 'notice to remove' sticker on the A-board.
  3. If the A-board has not been removed by the business or owner by the next day it will be removed from the highway by an authorised Council officer.
  4. We will store any removed A-boards for a maximum of 28 days.
  5. We will charge a storage cost and administration fee to anyone wishing to reclaim the A-board.
  6. We will destroy the A-board if nobody reclaims it.
  7. If there are 3 repeat instances of an A-board being placed outside/by a particular business, we will consider issuing a Community Protection Notice.

Please note:

  1. The physical removal of an A-board will be dependent on its weight and size as well as the availability of a vehicle. In the meantime and where reasonably possible (in line with health and safety policies and procedures) a Council officer will attempt to move the A-board to a less obstructive position until it can be collected.
  2. If the A-board is on private land we cannot take any enforcement action.

Who will carry out the enforcement action?

Bradford Council's Network Resilience and Management Team will carry out the enforcement action. This team are a part of the Planning, Transportation and Highways Service.

How can I reclaim a confiscated A-board?

There is a £250 charge to have your A-board returned if we have removed it from the public highway. The charge covers the cost of removal and temporary storage. You can pay using the Council's online payment system.

Pay for the return of a confiscated A-board

The link above explains how to pay and where you can retrieve your A-boards from.

Are there any suitable alternatives to A-boards?  

We want to work with businesses and the community to achieve a sensible and practical solution to advertising.

Whatever form of advertising you choose to adopt for the future please be mindful that flyposting on street furniture and highways land is illegal and also subject to enforcement action.