Council say roadside trailer signs do require permission

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Following on from the article in last week’s Observer regarding the legality of roadside advertising, Aberdeenshire Council have said that trailer-mounted signs require permission under the advertisement consent regulation, unless they are being towed along the road.

The council say the only exemption applies to company vehicles which are bearing their corporate logo and advertising, whilst they are in motion. They say the exemption does not apply to a stationary trailer which is situated with the sole purpose to bear an advertisement, unless the trailer was being towed on the road.

Ronnie Paterson, a Laurencekirk businessman, has been in dispute with the council over a trailer-mounted sign he erected for his business “Ronnie’s Rolls”.

Since then, Fordoun based landscaping company, Beechwood Services, have said they encountered a similar approach by Aberdeenshire Council.

Like Mr Paterson, Beechwood Services placed a sign on a trailer in a field that they had permission to use. The advertisement was a temporary measure to inform customers that they had moved premises. They felt it would prevent an accident on the A90 as it would mean their customers would not get hesitant on the dual carriageway whilst looking for the junction.

Within weeks they received a visit from a Planning Enforcement Officer whom they said was very threatening and aggressive whilst stating that the sign must be removed immediately.

The landscaping company then received an enforcement notice to say that the Roads Department would access the land and cut the sign from the trailer. It would then get taken to the Spurryhillock Depot where the company would then have to pay £300 to get it back.

Sarah Donald from Beechwood Services said: “As we were going on holiday we had no option but to take our sign away from the roadside, but I’m still undecided of our next course of action.

“I feel this is something that may well be worth going to court over.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Trailer-mounted road signs must have planning permission before they are erected.

“Unauthorised signs placed along the A90 can cause road safety issues if they are deemed to be a distraction to drivers who are travelling at high speeds. This position is supported by Transport Scotland, the trunk road authority.

“The owner of the sign in question removed it when asked, but replaced it a short while later. As a consequence, an advertisement enforcement notice, requiring removal of the sign, was duly served. The sign was subsequently removed and the council is grateful for the owner’s cooperation.”