Do I need planning permission for a sign?
Ask your local authority
Before taking any action and to avoid unwanted issues, it's always worth contacting your local council regarding a sign installation. Generally, the planning stature of signage currently falls under council jurisdiction so discussing your ambitions with them first is prudent. However, in most instances, you'll find that most kinds of signs or advertisements don’t require any planning permission.
Local government guidance
A report issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government named: Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers, can be found online for download in an easy-to-use PDF format offering useful guidance. The guide covers all areas of installing signs from where they are positioned and their dimensions to how long signage can be in place. Different styles are covered for a variety of applications from large advertising billboards and entrance signs to “For Sale” and “To Let” estate agent’s signage.
Expectations and laws regarding signage
While you may not need planning permission to affix a sign, the government guide does state the owner’s responsibilities and some clear rules regarding the laws related to signs.
The business or individual installing or arranging to have a sign installed on their property must ensure that it is well taken care of. For safety reasons, it must represent no risk to people or property and it must be securely fixed in place. It must also be kept tidy and clean so that it does not negatively impact the aesthetic appearance of the location where it is installed. Those selecting to install a sign must also have written consent from the site owner where the sign is to be displayed. Should the signage be installed on highway land, the Highway Authority must provide its permission.
Signs must not present a hazard
Along with being securely placed and kept in good repair, signs being installed must never cover or hamper clear interpretation of important signage, that if unseen could be hazardous. Examples of such signs include road, parking, aircraft, rail and waterway signage. When transport users are unable to read official signs, it can potentially result in accidents and injuries.
The right to remove
While there is no official law that states that planning permission is required to install signs, there is legislation in place for their removal. The guide states that if required by the local planning authority, signage must be removed. For this reason, as mentioned earlier, the safest option is always to communicate with your local council before purchasing or installing signage.