Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Operators protest at law banning billboards along motorways

27 July 2017

Prague, July 26 (CTK) - Some 3,000 billboards along Czech motorways have to be removed by September under a new law, which the operators will respect, but many will seek compensation for their lost profit in court, Marek Pavlas, head of the outdoor advertising operators' association, has told media.

The total number of billboards in the country is estimated at 25,000, but most of them flank streets in towns and the ban does not apply to them.

Pavlas said no study has proved that a billboard ban increased road traffic safety in the countries that imposed it.

The Transport Ministry, nevertheless, insists that billboards along motorways and main roads have a negative impact.

"Roads must be safe, including good outlook, not flooded with hundreds of advertisement billboards that distract drivers' attention and are mostly fatal for those crashing into them with their cars," the ministry's spokesman Zdenek Neusar told CTK.

He said the ministry rejects the billboard operators' arguments and their demand that one billboard for every 100 metres of motorway be permitted.

By removing the billboards from motorways, the Czech Republic will follow the example of countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain, Neusar added.

Advertisement billboards in a protection zone along motorways and main roads have been banned by the law on roads was passed in 2012. In apprehension of possible disputes with advertisement operators, the law set a five-year deadline for the billboards' removal.

Pavlas criticised the definition of the road protection zones as too strict. Along motorways, it bans billboards in the distance of up to 200 metres, though a 100-metre distance is usual in the neighbouring countries, he said.

Daily Pravo writes today that in a round-table debate on Tuesday, Pavlas said the operators will not try to take any steps to circumvent the ban, but they will try to push through its lifting under the next government to emerge from the October 20-21 general election.

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