Anyone who displays an advertisement, or uses an advertisement site, or knowingly permits someone else to do so, without the consent required for it is acting illegally. It is then immediately open to the planning authority to bring a prosecution in the Magistrates' Court for an offence under section 224 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. But, unless an offence is especially flagrant or repeated, the planning authority may not initially consider it necessary to prosecute for an advertisement offence. Instead, they may invite the advertiser to apply for the consent they believe he needs, and, if consent is refused, there will be a right of appeal to the Secretary of State or Welsh Assembly.
The continued display of any advertisement after consent has been refused, and any appeal dismissed, may well result in prosecution. The maximum fine on conviction of an offence is presently level 3, with an additional daily fine of one-tenth of the maximum penalty on conviction of a continuing offence.
It is illegal to display any advertisement (even if it has deemed consent) without first obtaining the permission of the owner of the site, or any other person who is entitled to grant permission.
Any form of fly-posting (that is, displaying an advertisement without consent) is an offence which is immediately open to prosecution, or to the removal or obliteration of any fly-posting material if the district council in England, County Council in Wales or London borough council decide to take remedial action against fly-posting in their area. In the case of a placard or poster, if the material identifies the advertiser displaying it, the Council must give two days' written notice of the intention to remove or obliterate it. This advance notice gives the advertiser the opportunity to contest the Council's proposed actions, but if the advertiser is not identified a placard or poster may be immediately removed or obliterated.
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