Adblock Hackney claims success as nine billboards are removed

The public was asked what they would like to see replace the digital adverts

The public was asked what they would like to see replace the digital adverts - Credit: Adblock Hackney

Nine digital billboards were removed from Hackney following a community initiative to reduce advertising space in the area.  

Adblock Hackney launched a petition in March opposing the planning application by JCDecaux, an advertising company, to retain nine of their billboards in Shoreditch.  

The company has had temporary planning permission for five years, but it lapsed earlier this year.  

Hackney Council refused JCDecaux’s application to renew the permission last month following a joint assessment by the planning and public realms teams. 

Adblock Hackney co-founder and Green councillor Alastair Binnie-Lubbock said: “It’s great to see an example of successful people power, taking back space that was taken to serve corporate interests rather than the public."

Adblock Hackney believes advertising for high fat, sugar or salt products undermines health objectives; petrol and diesel car adverts undermine air quality goals; and airline promotions do not help carbon emission targets. 

A passer-by writes on the covered up billboard

A passer-by writes on the covered-up billboard - Credit: Adblock Hackney

The contract for all remaining 59 pavement-based billboards in Hackney is set to expire on August 31 and the group is calling for a presumption of refusal for new advertising applications. 

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A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “We pride ourselves on delivering clear and important messaging to our residents through a range of channels, including on-street advertising. 

“We are continuously working to improve and assess how well these messages are being communicated. 

“We are currently in the process of submitting papers on the future of other sites across Hackney to the relevant procurement committee.” 

Adblock Hackney launched its campaign in March by covering up digital billboards with paper and asking passers-by to write what they would like to see instead.  

Suggestions included art, a picture of "my nan", brain games, or dinner recipe ideas.  

Adblock will hold a public meeting at The Clapton Hart pub in Lower Clapton on August 4 at 7pm about its continued campaign. 

The initiative is part of Adfree Cities, a network of groups across the UK concerned about the impact of corporate advertising on people’s health, wellbeing, the environment and communities.  

JCDecaux declined to comment.