Since 2008, free leafleting has been banned in central Brighton. People who want to hand out leaflets about local events need to apply and pay for a council licence, and are restricted to particular parts of the city and times of day. Similar rules have come through in dozens of other British towns and cities.
These rules have had a disastrous effect on local businesses and grassroots arts in Brighton, particularly on fringe comedy, nightclubs and music events. These restrictions also violate people’s rights to free speech and to associate in public space.
None of the money from the leafleting licences has been used to clean up litter: instead it has been used to pay for council enforcement of the scheme.
We, the undersigned, call for the review of this unnecessarily strict regulation. Litter is better dealt with through provision of litter bins and other common-sense measures, rather than restrictions of people’s rights to use public space. The majority of reasonable and responsible leafleters should not be penalised.
This petition will be presented to a meeting of the Cabinet in the Autumn.
Started by: Nick Thorne (Free Brighton/Manifesto Club)
This ePetition ran from 07/04/2011 to 07/10/2011 and has now finished.
137 people signed this ePetition.
Response from Councillor West:
'Thank you for your petition, which was presented to Full
Council on 15 December 2011 and which I formally note here.
Issuing leaflets in the city is not banned. The free distribution of printed matter is a popular form of advertising for some organisations in the city but it does contribute to littering, particularly in the centre and has a detrimental impact on the appearance of the city.
It is recognised that Flyering is a popular way of advertising particularly and the licensing scheme does not seek to ban the handing out of leaflets. Instead the licensing is designed to allow flyering but in a controlled way with the sole purpose to prevent the litter. The charges levied pay for the costs of operating the scheme. Charities, political and religious organisations are exempt from payment but are expected to comply with the conditions.
The licensing of those people who want to hand out printed material was agreed by the Environment Committee in January 2007 after a consultation period during which the proposals were sent out to organisations affected by the scheme including city night clubs and the business community.
Since introducing the scheme, there has been less litter from flyering and this is important for a city economy which relies on tourism and visitors
There have been significant issues arising from this matter in the past five years and I will be asking officers to look into the matter'