Planning Regulations

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Having considered sign types and materials, chosen a signmaking partner for the project and looked at the huge range of signage available,we come the matter of planning regulations and the question that sign buyers often ask – will I need planning permission for my sign?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. Almost all outdoor signs will be subject to planning constraints. However, whether or not you require planning consent for your signs will depend on a number of factors and your signmaker should be able to offer advice on the specific planning requirements that apply to your location. Your signmaker should also be able to deal with any planning applications required for the project.

To help you understand the process, we’re going to take a brief look at the planning regulations that relate to signs in the UK. These form part of the planning control system and there are separate regulations in force in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The details of the regulations in each of the four countries differ from one to another, so whether or not you require planning consent and the process involved in making an application will, in part, depend on where you are in the UK.

The BSGA Technical Guideline K1: The Control of Advertisements Regulations, which can be downloaded using the link on this page, includes information on the relevant regulations and provides details of reference sources where information relating to the regulations can be found.

The Guideline also provides information on the bodies that are responsible for the day-to-day operation of the advertisement control system in each of the four countries of the UK, plus a summary of the three main groups of outdoor advertisements which are:

* Advertisements which the rules exclude from the planning authority’s direct control

* Advertisements for which the rules give a ‘deemed consent’ so that the planning authority’s consent is not needed, provided your advertisement is within the rules

* Advertisements for which the planning authority’s ‘express consent’ is always needed

The advertisement control system covers a wide range of advertisements and signs, and the Guideline gives examples of these together with a list of the five ‘standard conditions’ which apply to all outdoor advertisements, whether they require the planning authority’s express consent or not.

Within each of the three main groups of advertisements there are a number of separate classes. Descriptions and illustrations of which are included in ‘Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers’, which is published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). A pdf version of the DCLG guide is available via the link on this page or can be downloaded from the DCLG web site

The DCLG guide relates specifically to the regulations which apply in England however, it provides a useful overview of the various classes of advertisements. This will help you develop an understanding of what’s covered by each of the groups and classes of advertisements. In its final section the guide covers those classes of sign which require express consent and gives a summary of the application process for obtaining consent and the appeals process should consent be denied.

Planning Portal

 ‘Full details of the planning application process can be found on the government web site ‘.

BSGA members will advise if your signage requirement requires planning permission and can submit your advertisement consent planning application on your behalf.

If you are applying on behalf of your own company, acting for a client, or require a BSGA member to submit the advertisement planning application on your behalf, we recommend that it is submitted on-line, via the Government Planning Portal’s on-line planning application facility.

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