hatton paul

i was told i can not give leaflets out in the street so i went home and looked it up on internet ...........Anyone who holds street stalls and leaflets will know that it is only a matter of time before some officious type from the council tries to stop you. So here’s a short run through of what you are allowed to do and what you can’t – so you’ve got an answer next time.

Avoid private property
You do not need to ask permission
Don’t block the path
Avoid private property. If you want to leaflet on private property then you have to get permission from the landowners and if you don’t then you will almost certainly be told to go away. What this means in practice is that it is best to avoid covered shopping centres as these are usually privately owned – high streets, public squares, at the entrance to busy transport hubs are all great places to start.

You do not need to ask permission. Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 the “free distribution of printed material on designated land” is also regulated. In short, you are not free to hand out whatever you like on your local high street without getting permission. However, if you are leafleting for a political group (like us) or a religious or charitable organisation then you are exempt from these laws.

This exemption is where the confusion comes from. Council officials often believe that any leafleting on public land has to be licensed by them – and probably pay them a fee too. However all political leafleting is exempt from this. All you need to say is that political leafleting is exempted from their regulation and that you are free to hand out fliers. This usually does the trick. If not, then argue your case calmly. If nothing you say is working, then it may be best to pack up rather than get into a heated row. But don’t let that be the end of the matter. Tweet, blog, lodge a complaint with the council, and tell us!

What else do you have to be careful of? Don’t block the footpath or get in the way of people as they walk. If you are causing an obstruction then you may be asked to move along. If you are bringing a stall or any props, it is best to pitch up on a broad street or an open square. Aside from the law, if you are in people’s way you will annoy them and they are less likely to want to hear what you have to say.

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Pete Jamieson
If a 'Council' official challenges you for distributing  political party flyers in a public thoroughfare, You should ask for them for their official identification before starting any dialogue with them. There are some people who will strongly disagree with your political activities an pose as a council official to try and stop you. Also consider Section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 . it was created so police can exercise powers,  in specified circumstances, to disperse groups of two or more persons in a public place, and to remove under-16-year-olds to their place of residence between the hours of 9pm and 6am. 
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Ian Griffiths
Hi guys.  I own a leaflet distribution company, which delivered both hand-to-hand and door-to-door.  I have distributed leaflets for the council and political parties in the past.  You do not need permission to hand leaflets out in the street, but you must not try to sell, without a sellers street permit.  Also, you must not try and coerce somebody into coming to a stand you may have (go to them or let them come to a stand you are behind) - think of the guys who try to get you to go into their restaurant/bar when you're on holiday.  You can't do this as it's menacing.

While it's not a requirement, as a matter of courtesy, we walk around the area (within around 150 metres) to pick up any leaflets that might have been dropped.  We don't want to be attacked for littering.

If you are wanting to hand out in a shopping centre, you must get permission from the centre management first, as you are on private property.

I hope this helps.
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Tom Flynn
Thanks for the useful information. 
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Anto Wickham Anto wickham
Paul thank you for highlighting this and all others for your input. It is good to know what we can and can not do. 
Anto Wickham 
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Paul Hammond
where can i get leaflettes from guys?
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Ian Griffiths
If it's not too late Paul, £75 for 5,000 A5 Double Sided, Full Colour including delivery.  £10 per side for artwork design.
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