Almost half of Prague billboards are at odds with current legislation, analysis shows

Mapping the billboards is the first step toward the city hall’s goal of tackling visual pollution. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.02.2023 08:30:00 (updated on 16.02.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

An analysis of how billboards in Prague comply with existing laws revealed that, out of a total of 1,531 billboards located in Prague, 684 were at odds with the current legislation.

most common violations among the 684 billboards

  • 216 carriers that do not have a valid building permit
  • 263 were not in the archives, and no record of them was found
  • More than 200 others apparently do not have a permit according to the Road Traffic Act

The most frequent violations were related to the minimum distance between billboards. Compounding the problem is the lack of unified regulations across Prague districts, and variations in the distribution of billboards across the Czech capital. 

Map showing the spread of billboards in an area of Prague encompassing
Map showing the spread of billboards in an area of Prague encompassing districts 3, 4, 11, 14 and 15.

Different rules, one problem throughout the city

The analysis, which was created by Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, in cooperation with the Technical management of communications, in charge of managing roads and other municipal property in the territory of Prague, ran into hurdles from the beginning. The reason was that not all of the 22 building authorities in Prague that oversee billboard management provided the needed information.

Kristýna Drápalová, who participated in the research, said that individual district show "huge differences in decision-making," resulting in occasional refusals to share data about the distribution of billboards. The local differences were also significant when it came to the actual data. For instance, while the district of Prague 6 had 11 billboards, the much smaller one of Prague 4 had 203.

what does the legislation say?

  • Billboards should not be placed in conservation areas.
  • Billboards should not be placed in natural areas and areas with trees.
  • The minimum distance between billboards is at least three times the area of the billboard itself, and at least 100 meters.

Scheinherr said the legislation will allow the current municipal administration to pass a "clearly organized agenda" to its successors. Additionally, a law passed in 2021 prohibited new billboard land leases, and the renewal of existing contracts, which could be a good opportunity for a legislative review of advertising regulations.

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