An abstract, vibrant community scene in Sheffield, with figures of varying ages engaging in transforming a public space from advertisement-dominated to a green, communal area, symbolized by bright, playful shapes and colors.

I can’t stand adverts whether appearing on the web (adblockers!), TV (sound off!) or on billboards (ignore!) It feels like mind pollution to me.

I’m glad that Sheffield, a city I called home for three years while at university, has decided to do something about the most pernicious forms of advertising. It’s particularly interesting that they’ve done a cost/benefit analysis against the cost to “the NHS and other services”.

Adverts for a wide range of polluting products and brands, including airlines, airports, fossil fuel-powered cars (including hybrids) and fossil fuel companies, will not be permitted on council-owned advertising billboards under the new Sheffield City Council Advertising and Sponsorship Policy. The council’s social media, websites, publications and any sponsorship arrangements will also be subject to the restrictions.


This breaks new ground in the UK, with Sheffield going further than any other council to remove polluting promotions. Sheffield declared a climate emergency in 2019, alongside many other local councils. This step demonstrates a real commitment to reducing emissions, driving down air pollution, and encouraging a shift towards lower-carbon lifestyles.


By including specific criteria that prioritises small local businesses, the policy also aims to protect Sheffield’s local economy. After consultation with other councils and outdoor advertising companies, Sheffield’s Finance Committee concluded that the financial impact of the policy was likely to be low (approx. £14,000-£21,000) compared to the costs incurred via pressures on the NHS and other services.

Source: badvertising