Leafleting restrictions and litter: call for evidence


Defra is currently undertaking a review of its guidance for local authorities in England on Part 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

We are beginning our review with chapter 8 of the guidance  " Controlling the distribution of free literature". 

We are seeking evidence on how councils in England currently control the distribution of free literature (e.g. leaflets and flyers), and what effect this is having on the promotion of small scale cultural and community events.



Why We Are Consulting

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have a statutory duty to keep their “relevant land” free of litter and refuse. This costs them around £840m per year in England. Schedule 3A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 gives local authorities the power to restrict the distribution of free printed matter (leaflets and flyers) on designated land if the distribution of such material is causing a litter problem.

We are interested in the impact these types of controls have on small scale cultural and community events. We value the contribution made to communities by small scale live entertainment and events, and do not want people to be put off organising them because of unnecessary bureaucracy. We are keen that any revision to the current guidance encourages a proportionate approach that balances the benefits of such events to communities with the clean-up costs to local councils and taxpayers associated with leaflets that are dropped as litter.

We are not intending to change the law. Our intention is to examine the case for publishing revised guidance in autumn 2014 to help local authorities in England apply the existing law proportionately to avoid placing disproportionate burdens on organisers of small scale cultural and community  events. To do so, we need to understand how the power to control the distribution of free literature is currently used by local authorities, and how this affects people’s ability to promote different types of events. We are therefore seeking views from interested parties.

You do not have to answer all of the questions in the survey - just the ones that are most applicable to you. Unless you ask us not to, we intend to publish the evidence and the name of your organisation alongside the final report. If you are writing on behalf of an organisation or individually, we will not publish your own name unless you ask for it to be included. If you ask us to keep your contribution confidential, we will try to meet that wish provided there is good reason.

 If we receive a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information which you have asked us to keep confidential, we will seek to use the appropriate FOIA exemptions to withhold that information. However, it is possible that we might be ordered to release it. If we receive FOIA requests before the publication of evidence, we will be likely to seek to use Section 22 FOIA to exempt material, in order to allow us to focus on collating and analysing evidence received.

Should you have any queries about this Call for Evidence, please E-mail the Local Environment Quality Team at : leqguidancereview@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, you can write to us at:  

Local Environment Quality Team
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR.


Related Information



Local Environment Quality Team

Key Dates

Status: Closed

Ran from 1 May 2014 to 26 Jun 2014

Other Information


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations,
  • Environmental campaigners ,
  • Government Departments,
  • Households,
  • Local Authorities,
  • Families,
  • Students,
  • SME businesses,
  • Leisure industry,
  • Tourism industry,
  • Environmental Health Officers


  • Natural environment,
  • Waste and recycling,
  • Local environments,
  • Rural economy and communities,
  • Common land,
  • Towns and village greens