England, Scotland and Wales are currently developing secondary legislation to regulate advertising activity and trading in open public places around Olympic and Paralympic events during the 2012 Games. The UK Government has published its response to the consultation on advertising and trading Regulations. Following the consultation, the Government has amended the draft Regulations to address the concerns raised over, for example, the unnecessarily broad definition of advertising and potential interference with local businesses.
Respondents raised concerns about the definition of advertising in the draft Regulations. In response, the Government accepted that there was a risk of individuals unintentionally breaching the Regulations by simply going about their normal daily activities, such as viewing the internet on a smartphone, or carrying personal items with visible branding, and amended the Regulations accordingly.
The Government recognised that wherever a restricted zone is marked out, advertising and trading will be pushed outside of it. It has accordingly made it clear in the Regulations that arranging (at any time) for advertising activity to take place in an event zone when the Regulations apply will contravene the Regulations.
As for ambush marketing and unauthorised commercial exploitation, the Government said that pursuing those who stand to benefit most from this practice and who are actually culpable, such as company directors and land owners, acts as a powerful deterrent. In practice, the prosecutor might find it difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed an offence.
Here, the Government said that it wants local existing businesses to be able to trade as normal where possible and benefit from additional opportunities brought about by the Games. To help meet this aim the Government will amend the Regulations to: a) permit deliveries of non-perishable goods as well as perishable goods; b) allow the sale and distribution of newspapers and periodicals during Games times (but will retain the proviso that sellers and distributors must not cause “undue interference or inconvenience to persons using the street” in order to protect the objective of allowing unheeded access to Games venues); and c) allow “pedicabs” and rickshaws to enter the zone as they are deemed to be public transport, although, as such, they will have to comply with any other laws that regulate their business. The Government also intends to amend the Regulations to capture unlawful pedlars and unregulated charity operators.
EVENT ZONES AND REGULATED AREAS
The Government extended some zones to capture coach drop-off points and provide clear walking routes from public transport hubs, as well as taking into account high rises where there is a risk of ambush advertising. Famous London buildings, e.g., Westminster Abbey, are also seen as a potential risk for ambush marketing.
AUTHORISATION AND ENFORCEMENT
The Government will be producing a Detailed Notice providing comprehensive information on the requirements of the Regulations. This will translate the Regulations into an easy to follow format suitable for all businesses that may be affected.
The authorisation process for trading within the zones will open before the end of the year.
Regarding enforcement, most respondents are happy with the approach of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). Local authority respondents said that the ODA would need to prepare and deliver a comprehensive training package to educate enforcement officers on the Regulations and emphasise the light touch approach to stave off any claims of overzealous enforcement.
The ODA said that enforcement powers would only be deployed in “unavoidable situations”, such as where there is deliberate, targeted ambush marketing or persistent and intentional disregard of ODA advice. The ODA says that it will provide comprehensive information on its website and will enable individual enquiries from traders to be made through the website or via a helpline once the application process has opened.
The consultation exercise appears to have been a useful one and the Regulation changes have been viewed as largely positive.