Campaigners call for outdoor adverts ban in Cardiff

A cyclist walking his bike past a massive billboard in Cardiff Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ban the billboard? Campaigners want signs like this to be a thing of the past

Campaigners want outdoor adverts and billboards banned, calling them "invasive and damaging".

Adblock Cardiff wants the city council to refuse permission for corporate adverts and remove those already up.

Founder Sion Elis Williams said: "Outdoor advertising pollutes our minds by undermining our self-esteem and suggesting that we can buy happiness."

But a council spokesman said contracts with several companies "provide an alternative means of funding".

The council would not disclose how much money it made from advertising billboards and digital displays.

This move follows a similar campaign - Adblock Bristol - which claims to have "coordinated action that's stopped 11 planning applications for large new digital advertising screens" in the past 18 months.

It also said it played a part in getting requests for 50 InLink advertising units rejected by Bristol City Council.

Image caption Cardiff council said commercial adverts must meet Advertising Standards Authority rules and the authority's own terms

The campaign group is citing the Well-being of Future Generations Act as justification for the ban.

It requires public bodies to take into account the long-term effects of any decision they make in terms of the prosperity of people, environment, culture and communities.

Mr Williams said: "There's no way of avoiding them - you're not given the choice about whether to consume that advertising.

"There are plenty of other channels available for businesses to advertise and people can opt into that."

He said the adverts were "sending a message that our lives are incomplete, we should be striving for more and it really undermines our self-esteem and has a serious impact on our mental health".

The council spokesman said digital displays were also used for "essential public information campaigns" and had been recently used to "publicise services available to those who are street homeless in the city centre".

Media analyst Ivan Clarke, who specialises in outdoor advertising, said: "In London, bus shelters are paid for by advertising companies, who provide the bus shelters and maintain them in exchange for putting posters on the end of them.

"The council makes rent on sites, outdoor advertising companies pay business rates, I don't really see the downsides."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2014, Grenoble mayor Eric Piolle announced a ban on commercial ads to make way for trees and community notice boards

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