County council sets sights on illegal M6 billboards

While many businesses in the city centre are still reeling from the quick removal of sandwich boards and other signs, illegal billboards on the M6 Galway to Dublin motorway are now being targeted.

Galway City Council recently swooped in on many city centre businesses, confiscating and removing temporary signage comprising sandwich boards and menus, on the grounds that they were causing an obstruction. Now Galway County Council seem to be getting in on the act with the announcement this week that there will be a clampdown on unauthorised advertising structures that are situated on private lands along the M6 Galway to Dublin motorway.

Since the opening of the motorway last December numerous advertising hoardings have sprung up along the route in full view of motorists. The advertisements are usually placed on the side of truck trailers and towed onto private lands and parked there with permission from the landowner for a fee.

In a statement Galway County Council said: “No planning permissions have been granted by Galway County Council for advertising hoardings along the M6 motorway and it is the County Council’s policy that advertising signs will not be permitted along roads in rural areas outside the boundaries of towns and villages.

“The County Council has already proceeded to issue enforcement notices as provided for in Section 155 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 in a number of cases. The Council is of the view that having the advertisement on wheels does not change the requirement for planning permission.

“All unauthorised advertising structures on the M6 will be the subject of action under the planning legislation and legal proceedings will be issued where the terms of any enforcement notices issued are not complied with. There are a number of cases currently at various stages within the enforcement process.”

However, the move by the Council has been criticised by many businesses who have vowed to fight it. Director of M6 Car Auctions Tom Lynskey says that removing the advertising structure could adversely affect his business which is located in Oranmore. Mr Lynskey explained that it was far more expensive to pay for a permanent billboard which could cost in the region of up to €500 a week. In comparison, for the temporary truck advertising Mr Lynskey paid €700 for the truck, €600 for the sign, and pays €1,000 a year to the farmer for permission.

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