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Billboard advertisements appear to be proliferating

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Public signs and advertisements seem to be cropping up in larger numbers across the Island, despite century-old legislation limiting them.

Under the 1911 Advertisement Regulations Act, billboards and advertisements are illegal with very few exceptions.

Stores are allowed to advertise sales, and items available for sale, inside shop windows. Outside signs may only state the name of the company and the general character of the business in letters not exceeding 15in.

Illuminated signs and advertisements “supported on or attached to any pole, standard framework or other support of which is visible against the sky from some point in any street or public way” are also prohibited.

The act also bans the use of the national flag or a portrait of a member of the Royal family living or dead in advertising.

In municipal areas, advertisements or announcements are only allowed on land licensed for the exhibition of advertisements by the appropriate corporation. Such advertisements cannot contain “letters, effigies, figures or other advertising emblems exceeding 12in in height”.

The Department of Planning yesterday confirmed that the 100-year-old legislation is still in effect, but does not give specific authority to regulate advertisements.

However, members of the public can themselves take the matter to court.

“A magistrate may, on the complaint of any person, issue a summons requiring the owner or occupier of the land to make an appearance and show cause why the advertisement should not be taken down,” a spokeswoman said.

“Any person contravening the provisions of the Act commits an offence against the Act that is punishable on summary conviction by a fine.”

Those found guilty of an infraction under the Act can be fined up to $720, with a further fine of up to $144 for every day the offence continues.

Useful websites: www.bermudalaws.bm, www.gov.bm.

Photos by Mark Tatem

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Published August 06, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 06, 2011 at 8:09 am)

Billboard advertisements appear to be proliferating

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