Question 07/22

Question:

I’m writing to ask if your council has declared a climate emergency? And if so, would the council be willing to adopt a ‘Low Carbon Advertising and Sponsorship Policy’ to meet this aim?

Advertising fuels the climate crisis by creating demand for high-carbon products, such as polluting flights and fuel-hungry SUVs, as well as promoting fossil fuel companies like Shell and BP.

Just as tobacco advertising was prohibited when we realised the harms caused by smoking, many local authorities are now taking action to end advertising for high carbon products in light of the climate emergency. Liverpool, Norwich and North Somerset councils have passed motions to restrict advertising for environmentally damaging products on ad sites those councils control. In August 2022, Sydney council in Australia banned advertising for coal, oil and gas and France passed national legislation prohibiting fossil advertising too. Amsterdam and five other Dutch cities have also implemented tobacco-style restrictions on polluting adverts.

Local authorities have control over the advertising billboards on council-owned land. Passenger Transport Executives often control advertising policies for bus stop and rail advertising.

A template council motion for a Low Carbon Advertising Policy can be found here
Would you be willing to propose this motion at a future meeting?

There is also a Toolkit for Local Policymakers that outlines the legal powers that councils are already using to implement these changes as well as some definitions of high carbon products: Toolkit for Local Policymakers

If you feel these actions need to be taken at a different level of local government, such as the County Council or Combined Authority, would you mind forwarding this request on?   Thank you.

I would also like to suggest turning our streetlights off earlier and putting them on a bit later in the day, although I do realise this is more difficult with shorter daylight hours.  [I also love looking at the stars and the ambient light doesn’t help.] (05/10/2022)

Answer:

We encourage suggestions to make our practices more environmentally friendly and welcome the enquiry. RDC does not, however, currently control any advertising sites in the district but should we acquire any in the future, advertising policy will support our wider Environmental Strategy. Streetlighting in our District is largely managed by East Sussex Highways, although some street lights are the responsibility of Highways England or the Parish and Town councils. Further information, including what is being done to reduce energy consumption and reduce emissions relating to streetlighting, can be found on the following websites: Street lighting in East Sussex and Street lighting and traffic signals. (20/10/2022)