Minister: No Plans To Remove Public Notices From Local Papers

The Government currently has no plans to change the statutory duty on local authorities to advertise public notices in local papers, a Minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has said.

Responding to a written question from Robert Halfon MP, DLUHC Minister Kemi Badenoch MP said: “Local authorities have to publish statutory notices that relate to a wide variety of topics in local newspapers. We currently have no plans to change the statutory duty.”

DCMS Minister Julia Lopez MP has also said that the department is working closely with DLUHC to “ensure that the implications of any changes to publicity requirements relating to planning notices are understood before decisions are taken.”

The influential Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee made a recommendation to retain statutory public notices in printed local newspapers, alongside greater use of digital technology to maximise public engagement with the notices.

In a recent report, the Committee said that removing the statutory requirement on councils to publish in printed local papers would create “a postcode lottery as to whether such notices continue.”   

The News Media Association has campaigned hard for public notices to be kept in printed local newspapers, warning that removing the requirement on local authorities to place them there would lead to a democratic deficit.

The NMA has also announced a major project to develop an industry-wide online portal for public notices which, alongside print notices in local papers, will further increase public engagement in planning, road traffic changes and other important information which people need to know as part of the democratic process.”

Funded by £1 million from the Google News Initiative, the project will see the creation of a common online portal offering access to the public notices published in print by regional and local newspapers across the country.