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If you want to distribute any type of printed material in certain areas of Belfast, you must have a permit from us.
Areas of the city are designated as consent areas or prohibited areas. In consent areas, distribution of free printed material is allowed with a permit. In prohibited areas, we do not allow distribution of free printed materials.
Certain parts of the city experience persistent leafleting. It's a nuisance to the public and one of the main contributing factors behind litter in the city. We spend £12.8 million cleaning our streets and cleaning leafleted areas requires additional resources.
It includes items such as:
There are two types of permit:
Permits are not transferable between consent areas. If you want to distribute material in the City Centre and University consent areas you must make two separate applications.
The annual permit is available in the City Centre consent area only.
You can apply for either stationary annual permit or a roaming annual permit.
A stationary annual permit restricts the distributor to a particular street. You can apply for a maximum of 4 distributor badges. Each badge costs £450.
A roaming annual permit allows a maximum of two distributors to distribute free printed matter in any street, subject to some restrictions during busy periods. Each distributor badge costs £450.
A temporary permit allows a maximum of two distributors to give out free printed matter subject to certain restrictions.
There are two types of temporary permits:
If we decide to issue a permit, it may carry certain limitations:
Apply for a temporary permit online
Apply for an annual permit online
When we have received your application, we will contact you to take payment.
We will normally decide on permit applications within 10 working days of receipt of a completed application form, along with the relevant fee.
To request an application form for either a temporary or annual permit to distribute free printed matter, please email email@example.com
Please send this form with your chosen method of payment to:
The Enforcement Team,
Free Printed Material
City and Neighbourhood Services Department,
Cecil Ward Building,
5th Floor, 4-10 Linenhall Street,
If your application is successful you will receive:
The two areas that have been designated as consent areas are Belfast City Centre and the University area. Anyone wanting to distribute free printed materials in these areas must apply to us for a permit.
(1) Belfast City Centre - bounded by and including all roadway of:
(2) University area - bounded by and including all roadway of:
There are some prohibited areas where we will not allow anyone to distribute free printed material. These are:
Materials benefiting statutory agencies delivering health and wellbeing, charities, political purposes or religious beliefs are exempt from the order.
If we find anyone distributing printed materials in designated areas, without a permit, we can fine or prosecute them.
The fine is £80 which must be paid within 14 days. If it is paid within 10 days it will be reduced to £60. If the fine is not paid within 14 days, we can prosecute the offender and they could be fined up to £2,500.
If the person distributing the material is doing this on behalf of another person, business, or organisation, then we can fine the person, business or organisation responsible for the printed material, as well as the person physically distributing the materials.
We will enforce the permit conditions and any contravention of these conditions may result in the consent being revoked.
Any distribution of free printed material involving food or beverages may require you to apply for a temporary street trading licence in addition to a permit to distribute free printed material.
The council cannot give permission for the placing of structures in the road such as tables or gazebos for use during any distribution. This is the responsibility of DfI Roads who act as the roads authority for Northern Ireland.
If you have any enquiries about your application, please call us on 028 9027 0254 or write to:
Belfast City Council
Cleansing Services (Free printed matter)
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
The Enforcement Team, Free Printed Material City and Neighbourhood Services Department, Cecil Ward Building, 5th Floor, 4-10 Linenhall Street, Belfast, BT2 8BP