Guest blog from Manifesto Club
Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, councils can designate areas within which people must buy a licence to hand out leaflets. Nearly a third of councils now restrict leafleting, and licences are prohibitively expensive.
A flyer ban in Leicester Square caused the collapse of several comedy nights. One Women’s Institute was threatened with a fine for handing out leaflets about its art exhibition. Oxford student societies were asked to pay £100 a month for leafleting.
Leafleting is a key civic freedom, with a long tradition in this country, and should not be restricted without good reason. Litter can be dealt with through the proper provision of litter bins and other common-sense measures, rather than restrictions on people’s rights to use public space.
The 2005 Act already provides exemption for political and religious leafleting, or leafleting on behalf of a charity. The Government should amend the Act, to provide an additional exemption for leafleting for small-scale cultural and community events.
Lord Clement Jones is introducing a private members' bill in early May which would exempt small-scale local events from the need to buy leafleting licenses. The Manifesto Club has a petition to support a change in the law on leafleting HERE