Distributing free literature on the street

Leaflets, flyers, pamphlets, newspapers and other printed matter (‘free literature’) are often given out in local high streets but thrown away onto the pavement.

The law now allows us to designate areas in the borough.

If you wish to hand out free leaflets or literature in one of our designated areas, you must apply for a licence.

If you wish to hand out leaflets on the public highway in locations other than those designated you can request an area on the application form and we will confirm if this will be permitted. 

Cost 

Daily fee of £29.10

Application guidance

You need a licence to hand out free literature in the street in a designated area if... 

  • you hand it out yourself 
  • you pay another person to hand it out for you
  • you hand it out from a vehicle, moving or stationary
  • you place it in a stand for the public to help themselves for free 
  • you place it on, or attach it to, vehicles 
  • its purpose is commercial gain.

You don't need a licence to hand out free literature in the street in a designated area if…

  • you put it inside a building or letterbox
  • you hand it out inside a bus, coach or other public service vehicle 
  • the contents are political, charitable or religious. (Any literature which is considered to hold offensive or inflammatory political or religious views will not be tolerated).

Designated areas

  • Bromley (High Street, Market Square, White Hart Slip)
  • Orpington (High Street)
  • Beckenham (High Street)
  • Penge (High Street)
  • West Wickham (High Street)

Things to consider

  • We need two working days to process your application
  • You can give out free literature in a designated area only if you have the right licence
  • Your licence may contain extra conditions
  • A licence covers a maximum of four people giving out free literature (‘distributors’) in one designated area. 
  • We will issue a maximum of two licences in total for one designated area at any time.
  • You are responsible for what all your distributors do. At least one of them should be carrying the licence.
  • Throughout the day, you must regularly remove any literature that people discard onto the pavements.
  • The free literature must not be pornographic or offensive.
  • When you give out free literature, no other form of advertising must be used including music, advertising boards or similar structures.

Apply

Apply and pay for a licence

fixed penalty notice (fine) may be issued to anyone who distributes free literature in a designated area without a licence.