Littering / Environmental Laws, outlaw handing out flyers.

I coverered this issue about a year ago, on the introduction of the regulations. It is widely thought that ALL flyering now requires a licence.  This in not so …..

The following statement demonstrates the widely held belief that political, activist and social concerned litererature is included in the ban. It is not.

“Warning to distributors” makes activist leafletting impossible!
Nottingham City Council have brought in sweeping new laws that will seriously affect the distribution of free activist literature in and around the city centre. Once again – as with fly posting – laws apparently designed to tackle the unbridled activities of commercial promoters are going to have a serious affect on activism and other legitimate exercise of free speech. In certain areas (which are sure to expand as time goes on, and already include the City Centre),  free printed material may only be given out with permission and a bought permit from the council.

Some Correspondence on the issue : Don’t panic, all OK

I had read the original article in the Evening Post describing the council announcement and notice the move had created a fair amount of disquiet amongst people concerned about environment, politics and social issues etc

Note [below] that I had written to Barrie James in the Public Health Dept of the Council to seek clarification about the exceptions the law allows for. He now confirms these.

It is a shame that these exceptions had not be advertised. The concerns a few of us have, is that in the absence of such information, wardens and council officers of various sorts would be under-informed that to give someone a leaflet, outlining a political concern, could still result in action / arrest. Obvious examples of the NAIL incinerator campaign, asylum issues, Sharphill Woods development etc etc could all fall foul of these directions.

Personally, I think the direction is proper in view of the amount of waste and commercial literature that is generated by clubs and shops etc. and is in line with the aims of ‘Agenda 21’

However, I do hope that the omission of any mention of the distribution of literature of a political nature, by the council, might not have been done delierately. Thus to enable the council to use these orders as a tool to diminish political dissent on issues the local authorities might have found inconvenient, viz: the incinerator. But they wouldn’t do that, would they?

This is the question and reply I had made of Barrie James in the Public Health Dept of Nottingham City Council


Dear Mr Lodge
Thank you for your e-mail reaging the distribution of free printed matter.
The legislation came in to force on the 26th Sept and I am not certain where the date 16th Oct came from. What I did say was that we would spend the first couple of weeks making sure that distributors were aware of the need for a permit. After that time we will expect applications to have been made and if not then enforcement action could commence.
You are correct in your belief that there are exemtions and they are the ones you list in your e-mail. In terms of political purposes the Sec of State has suggested a wide interpretation be made and that the intention is not to inhibit thye right of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights.
I hope this is of help but please do not hesitate to contact me if any further information is required.

Barrie James

> —–Original Message—–
> From: alan lodge [mailto:]
> Sent: 05 October 2006 14:45
> To:
> Subject: Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 seeking clarification.
> Barrie James – Service Manager
> Public Health
> Lawrence House
> Talbot Street
> Nottingham
> NG1 5NT
> RE: Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005
> Dear Mr Barrie James
> From your announcement at:
> Nottingham City Council Announcement :: Warning to distributors
> and today’s article in the Nottingham Evening Post I note these regulation are to be in force from the 16 October 2006.
> I understand that there is much concern about litter created from such commercial activities. This of course results in increased amounts of rubbish for disposal and clearly provision is made to attempt to deal with this.
> However on reading the act, I notice that there are some exceptions, that are not referred to in your announcement, or indeed, any report I have so far read.
> Having looked at the act, I note that there is an exemption under sect 23 (4a)(4b) Schedule 3A, where the distribution is for charitable and political purposes.
> >>>>>
> Free distribution of printed matter
> Offence of unauthorised distribution
> (4) Nothing in this paragraph applies to the distribution of printed matter-
> (a) by or on behalf of a charity within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, where the printed matter relates to or is intended for the benefit of
> the charity;
> (b) where the distribution is for political purposes or for the purposes of a religion or belief.
> >>>>>>
> I would appreciate your views if I have this right, or, if there are other issues I have failed to grasp.
> In sum, within your designated area under the ‘Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005’, are there exceptions for charitable and political purposes, for the distribution of printed material.
> I am grateful for any help with this matter.
> Regards
> Alan Lodge


So …… There is now another Nottingham City Council page at:

Nottingham City Council page: Distribution of Free printed Matter

now makes this clear.  If you are leafleting in Nottingham, I suggest you print off this page, and carry it with you to show police or ‘plastic’ constables if you get bothered.

For good measure, also print the law:

Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 [exemption under sect 23 (4a)(4b) Schedule 3A]

The previous commentary on all this on Indymedia at:

So, does that ‘do it?’

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