Nearly half of councils remove all posters put up by community groups, a new investigation has revealed.
The Manifesto Club found that only 9% of councils will allow communities to put up posters for social or local political events, with 44% taking down or issuing fines for all posters. This includes posters for litter picking, missing pet posters, hospice events and campaigns against local development.
However, the report also warned that the majority of councils did not have noticeboards where such events council be advertised.
More than half of councils responding said they did not have a place where people could put up posters, while the rest had a noticeboard but it was inaccessible to the public.
The report stated: ‘This means that public space starts to become exclusively occupied by official and commercial actors. Speech by and between members of the public is squeezed out, and citizens have fewer available means for appealing to or communicating with one another.
‘This has serious implications for local and national democracy and civic engagement.’
The report - The Silencing of Public Space - found that since 2014, nearly 20% of councils in England and Wales have introduced Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs).
It also found growing restrictions on political campaigning in public spaces with only 19% of councils saying people could put up a political stall in a public space without payment or undergoing formal procedures.