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Guidance for placing advertising on the highway

All advertising boards on roads and pavements are considered to be obstructions.

Our guidance provides a reasonable balance between commercial needs and highway users' needs. We have set out conditions where advertising boards on the highway will be permitted, without compromising safety for highway users. The guidance can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


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Report a problem with an advertising board

If you find advertising that does not comply with the guidance, or would like to clarify if advertising would be allowed, please contact us using our advertising board obstructing the highway form.

If you think the situation is an emergency please call us on 0300 200 1003.

Guidance for advertisers

Do I need a licence to place an advertising board on the pavement?

Traders do not need to apply for a licence to place an advertising board on the highway, but co-operation in abiding by the conditions of this guide is essential.

What am I allowed to put out?

Advertising boards displayed in accordance with the conditions contained in the guidance will be acceptable to Surrey County Council.

Guidance for public and advertisers

Why do we (Surrey County Council) need to monitor this?

It is important that the number, size and positioning of advertising boards are regulated. If not, they can create hazards for highway users, particularly those with impaired vision, mobility problems, the elderly or those with young children.

What happens if the conditions aren't met?

We are committed to working with businesses and where there is no immediate danger to the public, and will work with them to ensure the conditions are met.

If any items are placed in breach of the conditions in the guidance, or the owner refuses to comply, we are able to remove them without notice. In general, the following matters will be taken into account when determining how to best direct our resources for removing advertising boards which don't meet our conditions:

  • the amount of public complaint
  • the number and extent of obstructions
  • the amount of pedestrian use (including the type of use) and the width of the available footway within the highway, and
  • the views and concerns of pedestrian and disabled access groups

The removal procedure is described in section 4 of the guidance.

Please also see our webpage about recovering property removed from the highway, and our online form for reclaiming the removed advertising board. We will keep items removed from the highway for one month. After this time, they may be disposed of.

What duties and powers do we have to remove signs or other obstructions?

As part of the Highways Act 1980, we have a duty to protect the rights of the public to use and enjoy the highway. There is also a duty to prevent obstruction as far as possible. We have a further duty to defend against unlawful encroachments on any roadside, pavement or grass verge within the highway.

There are also powers, under Common Law, which can be used by a highway authority to remove obstructions.

Files available to download

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