July 30, 2008
CONSUME CONSUME CONSUME
Advertisers try to persuade us that our lives will benefit from buying their products. However, if we spend more money, we are likely to need more money. Unless we’re very lucky, that means we have to work longer and harder to get it or to pay off debts. This doesn’t sound like a benefit at all!
The companies that put up billboards in Haringey are making loads of money out of plastering this visual pollution all over our communities. A survey around West Green Road found that only 2 of the 50 billboards in the area had planning permission. This means that for the vast majority there had not even been an attempt to consult local people.
The boards appear on our streets without any consultation with the people who have to walk past them everyday. By disregarding local planning laws, the hoardings companies are avoiding any possibility of facing objections through the formal consultation process.
If someone went out spraying 12-foot high graffiti on our streets, they would soon be arrested and prosecuted. Commercial companies, on the other hand, get to put up billboards and promote their messages wherever they want. Haringey Council has recently been given £100,000 to tackle graffiti and flyposting in the area. Why isn’t this money used instead to target these advertising companies?
OUR STREETS, OUR LIVESWe can ask the Council to request that a company removes its hoarding. Whilst this has sometimes been successful, the process can be extremely lengthy. In the meantime, if the Council’s bureaucracy can’t deal with these companies, then it is up to us to protect our public spaces.
Imagine what our streets would look like if all these hoardings were taken down or used as community art spaces and notice boards. Why not take over your local billboard and use it to publicise local events, news and views?
Some ideas for further action:
- talk to your neighbours or contact your local residents’ association and get together to oppose billboards (contact Haringey Federation of Residents’ Associations for details of your local group, if you live in Haringey. email@example.com
- contact the billboard companies directly (pressure can also be put on the companies whose products are advertised by them):
– Clear Channel – 020 7287 3303
– JCDecaux – 020 8326 7777 (responsible for 35% of billboards in UK)
– Maiden Outdoor Advertising – 020 7838 4000
- to find out whether a billboard has planning permission, ring Haringey’s Planning Enforcement Dept – 020 8489 5593
- send us pictures of subvertised adverts in Haringey and let us know if you have any success with removing a hoarding
- see www.subvertise.org
Haringey Action to Halt Advertising (HAHA) are opposed to all forms of advertising, whether they have planning permission or not, because they represent a society based on profit instead of need. HAHA can be contacted via Haringey Solidarity Group.