Following the Sao Paulo Mayor’s recent city billboard ban, the Mayors of Rio and other Brazilian cities are thinking of following suit. Is this the start of a worldwide backlash against city ad clutter? Ray Coyle sends a poster card from just east of Brazil in London Wall.
Who: Mayors of various Brazilian cities
When: Being considered now.
Where: Rio de Janeiro
Law stated as at: 1st November 2007
Following the recent decision of the Mayor of Sao Paulo to ban virtually all outdoor advertising, Cesar Maia, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, along with the Mayors of several other Brazilian cities, is said to be considering following suit.
Why this matters:
The proscription of billboard advertising does have the potential to become a bandwagon. On the face of it, there is little for a municipal authority to lose in introducing such a ban and there may be considerable political gain in being seen to remove advertising. The description of the legislation in Sao Paulo as the "Clean city Law" was also an impressive political move, given that the removal of billboards clearly does nothing to clean the city.
As with all potential bandwagons, the concern is that this one will travel. So what would happen in London, for example, if the Mayor or the Greater London Assembly decided to do the same?
Fortunately, planning permission for billboards is handled by local authorities rather than centrally. London's boroughs remain responsible for granting planning permission and, while the Mayor has a veto right over planning decisions, it only applies to major projects.
The proposed Greater London Authority Act, which received royal assent on 23 October, is designed to strengthen the powers of the Mayor and the GLA in planning matters. However, the Mayor's powers are limited to giving directions to London authorities in respect of local development schemes rather than individual planning applications. It is difficult to see any interpretation of the legislation that would allow the London Authority to follow the Brazilian lead on Billboards.