New guidelines to guard against street clutter in London

  • By Jim Ranger

Councils will have new powers to reduce street clutter and make the pavements safer for people with impaired mobility following new guidelines published today by London Councils.

Under previous legislation boroughs were required to seek permission from business owners to install signs and lighting on their property – an often lengthy process which was costly to the public purse. As a result, lights and signs were almost always put up on posts and columns which were both expensive and increased street clutter.

Powers in the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2013 mean boroughs now need to give building owners 56 days’ notice of their plans to put up signs and lights, reducing the need to erect lampposts and signposts on the pavement.

Boroughs may use these powers once they formally adopt London Councils’ guidance. Under the legislation, property owners still have the right to challenge these decisions before they are carried out.

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said: “Street signage and lighting is essential but too often the posts and columns are ugly and intrusive. Everyone benefits from approaches which protect the look and feel of our streets.

“These new guidelines will empower boroughs to reduce the need to install more and more street furniture and reduce the cost of putting up signs and lights.

“The document has also been designed as an informative and accessible tool to help property owners understand their rights under the legislation. Our aim is that boroughs, residents and business owners will work together to protect the capital’s urban environment.”


Notes to Editor
-    The full Code of Practice is available to download from the related documents (right).
-    The guidelines were formally approved at the June 2015 meeting of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (
-    The guidelines must be formally approved by boroughs in order for them to use the powers in the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2013.
-    The guidelines contain a number of exemptions, including for listed buildings, and theatres.
-    The new powers will save boroughs time and money in implementing any proposals to put lights and signs on buildings. Boroughs may also save money in street furniture costs (e.g. posts, lamp columns), and the costs for statutory utilities creating the required power output on the highway (e.g. cabling) as this could be serviced internally in the building for a lower cost.
-    Boroughs will not incur any costs in implementing these guidelines. In the unlikely event that a case is taken to appeal a cost may be incurred.