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Nanjing moves to curb billboards

11-07-2011 08:36 BJT

NANJING - New draft rules issued by Nanjing, the capital of East China's Jiangsu province, would limit the placement of outdoor billboards to avoid blocking the sunlight of neighboring buildings.

While the measure might win public support, the authorities said, the advertising industry has voiced concern.

Some popular locations for billboards in Nanjing will become off-limits, such as landmark buildings, bridges and overpasses, residential buildings, roofs and campuses, under the draft measure, which went up for public comment during the first week of November.

"The draft may become a law by the end of this year," Ma Liangqi, the director of the city environment department of the Nanjing City Bureau of City Administration, said.

"Many billboards were put up at inappropriate locations, making the city ugly, because approvals were based on officials' decisions about whether the place could have a billboard or not," Ma said.

Getting the billboards taken down isn't easy, Ma said, because it costs the advertiser money and there are no laws giving city officials the ability to get them moved.

The draft has clear stipulations on the design of such ads, the management responsibilities of urban administration departments and penalties, which will give the authority legal support.

Along with limited zones for billboards, there will be demonstration areas for them to show the modern aspects of Nanjing, a city with a long history, and her beauty, he said.

"The authority began to conduct research last year and received professional advice from design institutes and colleges, so I think this draft may win the public's support," Ma said.

Many local residents said they did welcome this policy. A man who would only give his surname as Li said a commercial billboard near his house had blocked the sun, and although he got compensation from the enterprise, "it was very energy-consuming and exhausting. But this draft will also provide legal weapons for us to protect our rights to sunshine."

However, ad agencies are unhappy about the impending change due to restrictions on locations and designs.

"It will absolutely bring us a certain economic loss since we have to change our current designs and materials totally, and it will take some time to renegotiate with our clients," Jiang Jing, a saleswoman at Nanjing MPI Public Transport Advertising Co Ltd, said. "We will express our concerns to the government, hoping they could ease up a little."

"The draft covers a lot of billboards and hits advertising agencies a lot. For example, a small agency may lose 70 percent of its billboards", said Wang Huanzhang, who is in charge of the Outdoors Advertising Association, a branch of the China Advertising Association.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: China Daily

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