Campaigners force council debate on advertising in Bristol parks

Bristol City Council will hold a debate on Tuesday 20 March as a result of our petition signed by almost 4,000 people calling for the council to drop proposals to introduce advertising into the city’s parks.

The debate will be held as part of the council’s full meeting at City Hall, which starts at 6pm.

Our petition shows that thousands of people feel that the city’s parks are no place for commercial advertising. Many of us feel that there is too much advertising in public spaces already, and are concerned about the impact on the environment, local economy and public health, among other problems. For example, a new report has shown that young people who regularly see junk food advertisements, including those on billboards, are more likely to be obese.

More detail on some of the concerns around corporate outdoor advertising are outlined in a briefing for councillors that we prepared, which you can find here.

illustration by Rosa Ter Kuile

Continue reading “Campaigners force council debate on advertising in Bristol parks”

Bristol says no to new digital billboard

adblocked_Bearpit_final (2)

Success! Plans for a new digital advertising screen have been rejected by Bristol City Council following objections from Adblock Bristol members and supporters.

Advertisers wanted to replace a static billboard at the bottom of Marlborough Street, near Bristol’s central bus station and the Bearpit, with a new brightly-lit digital screen. Local residents and traders argued that it would be a distraction to motorists (to whom it would obviously be aimed), unsightly to pedestrians and harmful to the character of Bristol. The application was refused in February 2018.

Read the Bristol Post article here.

The existing hoarding – which is very large, known in the industry as ’96-sheet’ size – has been on the site for many years without any planning consent. Christmas Steps Arts Quarter, a group of local traders and residents, have raised the issue with the council who say they will make sure the offending structure is removed.

Hamilton Caswell of Christmas Steps Arts Quarter said, “The applicant may appeal, but unless they are successful we look forward to seeing the site (a pleasant wall fronted by shrubs) revealed without either type of hoarding in front.”

Stay in touch for updates and more opportunities to get involved in the Adblock Bristol campaign: follow us on Twitter or join our mailing list

Burg Arts re-launches with billboard celebrating community activism

New artwork references previous campaigns to remove corporate billboards in the area.

A new artwork has been installed on a dormant billboard in St Werburghs this week, marking the relaunch of the ‘Burg Arts’ project in the neighbourhood.

The art work references historic campaigns to have corporate advertising billboards removed in the area and was  designed by Matt Bonner in collabation with the St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association and Adblock Bristol.  Residents of the area were asked, “What do you like living about living in St Werburghs?” and their response were gathered as visual concepts to be included in the piece.

Adblock Bristol will be working with artists throughout 2018 including reknown poet Robert Montgomery.  Montgomery will hold a public event in St Werburghs in April 2018 to present his previous work and hear ideas for a new piece to be installed on the Burg Arts board later this year.

Robbie Gillett, a local resident and organiser with Adblock Bristol said,

“We wanted to produce a piece that celebrates the green spaces, community spirit and things that matter to people in St Werbughs.

Burg Arts aims to create a postive alternative to the corporate advertisements bombarding us with consumer messages for new cars, fizzy drinks and junk food.

With advertising companies pushing harder across the city for more billboards, especially digital displays, this project is about reclaiming public space for public good.”

St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association ran a successful campaign to remove 6 out of 13 billboards from the area.  In addition to artist Robert Montgomey, the Burg Arts project will be working with local youth groups to co-create future pieces for the board.

If you’re an artist interest in contributing artwork to the Burg Arts project this year, please email

09_Matt Bonner Burg Arts Feb 2018 Continue reading “Burg Arts re-launches with billboard celebrating community activism”

Keep our parks ad-free: over 3,000 sign petition to Bristol City Council

People in Bristol have responded with alarm to a proposal to introduce commercial advertising into the city’s parks and green spaces, with over 3,000 citizens signing a petition delivered to City Hall today (find the petition here).

Continue reading “Keep our parks ad-free: over 3,000 sign petition to Bristol City Council”

Lunchtime Lecture: Adblock Bristol

Every Thursday, different speakers present different subjects at Bristol Central Library.

Lunchtime Lecture: Imagining a city free from corporate advertising
Thursday 25th January 2018
12.30pm – 1.20pm
@ Bristol Central Library, BS1

In the last few years, residents and artists across Bristol have been challenging the power and presence of corporate outdoor advertising. Could Bristol follow the example of Grenoble and Sau Paulo and become the first UK city to free itself of commercial billboards imploring us to buy, spend and consume?

With Robbie from Adblock Bristol

See here for other Lunchtime Lectures at Bristol Central Library


The fight to keep Canberra ad-free

The parliament house in Canberra opened in 1927, and ten years later federal parliamentarians decided to legislate that the nation’s capital should not have any billboard advertising – presumably because it is ugly and fundamentally anti-democratic, although the reasoning behind the legislation is not recorded. Brett Phillips from the ACT Environment and Planning Directorate said “Billboards are something that’s been seen to not be in keeping with the way that [Canberra’s] been planned”. Continue reading “The fight to keep Canberra ad-free”

Bristol City Council fails to prevent a marked increase in commercial ‘visual clutter’ on our streets

Bristol City Council has allowed a proliferation of brightly lit commercial advertisements throughout the city center, failing to stand up to central government and advertisers in defense of our city’s unique culture.

Applications were made by New World Payphones in October 2016 to convert three public telephone kiosks in Bristol, adding LED screens to show adverts. They were refused, in one instance for “inappropriate and unnecessary visual clutter and low-quality commercial branding” to the conservation area it was sited within. Continue reading “Bristol City Council fails to prevent a marked increase in commercial ‘visual clutter’ on our streets”

Oppose Advertising in Bristol’s Parks!

Bristol City Council are currently consulting on proposals to introduce commercial advertising to our parks and green spaces.

We agree with the Council when they say that our parks are good for our physical and emotional wellbeing; and we acknowledge that the council is under financial pressure to reduce what it spends on these spaces.  However, Adblock Bristol feels that introducing advertising would undermine the emotional, psychological and health benefits that these space bring – especially in areas where children play.

There is a consultation to let the council know what we think of the various possible options to save money on parks. Our responses to the consultation could stop this proposal going ahead. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and can be found here:

Council consulation:

Ad-free Pars - Cube piece 3.jpg

Continue reading “Oppose Advertising in Bristol’s Parks!”

Do we really need 18 new digital ad boards in Bristol city centre? We can stop them.

  • Urgent action needed: 18 new digital ads proposed for Bristol
  • See our quick and easy guide to submitting your objections
  • Take action by this Friday, 20 October 2017

We’re alarmed to discover that a whopping EIGHTEEN new digital ads are trying to sneak into Bristol’s Broadmead and Cabot Circus. Continue reading “Do we really need 18 new digital ad boards in Bristol city centre? We can stop them.”