Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 11th June 2014.

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Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will establish an ombudsman to cover complaints on the use of overly sexualised content on images and displays on high streets and other business advertisements easily visible to the public which are not covered by the Advertising Standards Association or police and crime commissioners.

Photo of Nicholas Boles Nicholas Boles The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

The responsibility for controlling the content of advertisements lies with the Advertising Standards Association, and therefore, the establishment of an ombudsman would simply duplicate this role.

The control of advertisements within the planning regime is carried out on the grounds of amenity and public safety as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England Regulations) 2007, as amended. It is up to the local planning authority to decide whether the image poses a threat to either of these and what to do as a result.

The local planning authority can serve a discontinuance notice where it is satisfied that an advertisement is having a significant effect on the amenity of a locality, or is a danger to members of the public. If people think the local planning authority has failed to act when they should have done, they can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate their concerns.

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