Get us in your inbox

Sheffield, England, UK
Photograph: Clare Louise Jackson /

This English city is banning adverts by polluting companies

Sheffield’s new policy ‘tackles some of the impacts of consumerism, advertising and injustice’

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Plenty of us are striving to live greener lives, whether that’s by cycling to work or trying to eat a little less meat. And in some rather encouraging news, it seems that the authorities who strive to run our local areas are beginning to do the same – particularly in one northern English city. 

Sheffield City Council, in a bid to create a greener and healthier city, has introduced an Advertising and Sponsorship Policy, calling time on ads and sponsorships which fuel the climate crisis. 

Polluting products and brands such as airlines, airports, fossil fuel-powered cars (including hybrids) and fossil fuel companies will be prohibited on council-owned billboards, as well as on its social media, websites and publications. 

The city declared a climate emergency back in 2019, as did lots of other local councils. Cambridgeshire County, Coventry City and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councils have also announced similar restrictions. 

According to Sheffield’s Finance Committee, the financial impact of the policy is thought to be around £14,000-£21,000, which is low compared to the costs incurred via pressures on the NHS, for example. 

Sheffield Green Party councillor Marianne Elliot told Badvertising: ‘If we seriously want to move away from greenwashing and promoting products and foods that are making our health worse and negatively affecting our wellbeing, we need policies like this.’

On how it could be improved, she would ‘like to see restrictions on fossil fuel financers like the big banks – Barclays and HSBC for example.’

The policy also includes criteria to prioritise small local businesses, and it’s not just fossil fuel companies that are being restricted – the promotion of gambling, alcohol, vaping and unhealthy food are also now restricted, which comes after research by Adfree Cities showed billboards are overwhelmingly concentrated in lower income communities. 

Annie Feetham, who lives in Burngreave ward in Sheffield, said: ‘Sheffield Council has a bold history of leading change, and I am delighted that they have taken this opportunity to creatively imagine a better city.’

At Time Out, we’re pretty big fans of Sheffield – here are our favourite restaurants in the city and list of best things to do there

Did you see that five British beaches have been named the best in the world?

Plus: everything you need to know about when and how to see the April 8 eclipse?

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out UK newsletter for the latest UK news and the best stuff happening across the country.

You may also like
You may also like