No more pavement ad screens in Hackney!

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, Councillor Mete Coban, Transport for London, Planning & Procurement Committees

The contract for 59 pavement based billboards in Hackney expires on 31st August 2022. Hackney council has a chance to remove them all - to reclaim public space from corporate profit for local people.

A key Hackney Council policy for 20 years has been to improve the look and feel of our public realm and reducing unwanted advertising is a significant part of this.

For 15 years the council was committed to their removal on 31 August 2021. But Hackney’s Mayor & cabinet overturned this at the last minute. They are here to stay, blighting our streets.

Why are Hackney council considering an extension of this contract which will primarily benefit JCDecaux (or another advertising contractor) and companies making a profit from products that often make it harder for the council to achieve it's public realm, public health, environmental and other aims?

Adblock Hackney have already campaigned to have 9 screens removed which shows that local people do not want them. Huge advertising hoardings should have no place on Hackney’s pavements, this is an opportunity to remove them all!

Write to Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport Cllr Mete Coban, Transport for London who control some of the land that the units are on, and the council's planning and procurement committees.

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To: Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville, Councillor Mete Coban, Transport for London, Planning & Procurement Committees
From: [Your Name]

Dear Mayor Philip Glanville, Councillor Mete Coban, Transport for London, Planning & Procurement Committees,

You will be aware that the contract for 59 standalone pavement advertising units situated across Hackney comes to an end on 31st August 2022.

9 of these units have already been removed from the pavements by the council, following a campaign by local resident's group Adblock Hackney& assessment by the council's planning department. Local people do not want their bright and intrusive presence in public spaces. They don't want unnecessary screens that clutter up pavements for pedestrians, parents with buggies and wheelchair users, among others.

They limit the ability to move around Hackney unencumbered and mean our public spaces are being given over to multinational corporations to assault us with often damaging messages and visual pollution. They often reduce visibility for on-coming traffic, buses arriving and generally negatively impact a clear and pleasant view of our streets.

The safety risks to drivers of these extremely distracting screens are highly concerning, since research shows that digital screens impair driver attention, particularly for younger drivers (1). In the context of the Climate and Ecological emergencies declared by the Council in 2019, the ecological impacts of light pollution from the screens, and the huge amount of electricity that each screen uses (2) are also troubling and inconsistent with Hackney Council's work towards a greener and more ecologically susainable future. These digital billboards need a lot of electricity to power their cooling systems so they can be viewed in daylight, even more as we experience more extremes of temperature.

The council now has an opportunity to take action to remove these screens. So far, the commercial interests of corporate advertisers have been prioritised over residents’ mental health and wellbeing and unfettered access to our streets. We have clear evidence of the multiple negative effects of adverting and outdoor screens on people’s quality of life (3), we are appealing to you to take a lead in removing the remaining 59 screens, and give local communities uninterrupted access to public spaces.
(1) Trespalacios et al. (2019) The impact of road advertising signs on driver behaviour and implications for road safety: A critical systematic review. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 122:85-98.
(2) The electricity cost of digital adverts, Adfree Cities, 2019:
Advertising screens and light pollution, Adfree cities:
(3) Adfree Cities resources
Spending on junk food advertising is nearly 30 times what government spends on promoting healthy eating, The BMJ