President gazettes new laws on displaying advertisements

Saturday, 9 November 2019

President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a gazette outlining new laws to regulate the installation of bill boards and other forms of advertisements on roads.The laws termed as the Control of BillBoards and Hoardings (Visual Pollution) Regulations No. 01 of 2019, have been introduced after the Centre for Enviornmental Justice petitioned the Appeal Court seeking an order to introduce laws against visual pollution.

According to the gazette, any billboard, hoarding, or advertisement could be erected on the road only after obtaining a one-year permit from 16 registered state institutions after making the relevant payment.These permits can be renewed annually upon payment of a renewal fee. However, such structures cannot be erected in a manner in which it obstructs the “environment, landscape, visual amenity and safety of persons”.

Advertisements including signboards, banners, posters, digital billboards on land, buildings, kiosks, and even mobile vehicles would be subjected to these laws.The Authority issuing the permit can instruct the removal of a billboard or hoarding if the permit period lapses, failing which steps would be taken to remove the structure. The cost of removing the structure would be borne by the permit holder, the gazette read.