People in Bristol have responded with alarm to a proposal to introduce commercial advertising into the city’s parks and green spaces, with over 3,000 citizens signing a petition delivered to City Hall today (find the petition here).
The Council’s proposal to ‘introduce appropriate advertising in parks and green spaces’ is part of a wider consultation laying out options to meet the shortfall in funding for Bristol’s parks expected over the coming years. The council estimates that £50,000 could be raised through introducing advertising – a relatively small 2.5% of the total funding gap stated.
Thousands of concerned Bristol residents have responded by asking the Council to drop its plans and to keep the city’s precious green spaces ad-free. Many feel that Bristol’s parks are places for leisure, relaxation, for nurturing wellbeing and for escaping the pressures of modern life – and are no place for commercial advertising.
Nicola Round from the Adblock Bristol group said: “This is clearly a huge issue for people in Bristol. Well over 3,000 people have signed the petition in just three days.
“Parks, trees and the ability to interact with nature are an important antidote to the pressures of modern living, and should be free from corporate adverts, which are often manipulative, making us feel we are lacking in some way in order to encourage us to spend.
“We should be particularly concerned about the impact such a move would have on children and young people. Children are exposed to thousands of commercial messages every day and are under immense pressure from advertisers. In a society where children are suffering from obesity and mental health issues, many people feel we should be protecting our children from advertising, not introducing them to more.
“Excessive consumerism, driven by commercial advertising, is also contributing to environmental damage and air pollution – a huge problem in Bristol, and yet there are ads for cars plastered on billboards all over our city. We don’t need these in our parks as well.
“We are deeply concerned about the ongoing commercialisation of our public spaces and this would be a very worrying move. Everywhere we turn we are being advertised to. By far the best option is to avoid introducing any advertising into our parks – and to reduce the amount of corporate advertising we see in residential areas and across our city altogether.”
Find the petition here: