Consent for the distribution of free literature

Schedule 3A to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 enables the council to designate highways and council owned land where the distribution of free printed matter is permitted only with the prior consent of the council.

The purpose of this legislation is to control the litter problem created by the distribution of free printed matter which is often quickly discarded by persons to whom it is given.

For the purposes of the Act, “free printed matter” includes any newspaper, document, card, leaflet, pamphlet, sticker or other literature for which no charge is made to the recipient.
“Distribute” means give it to or to offer or make available, and includes placing or affixing free literature to vehicles. It does not include putting it inside a building or letterbox.


The distribution of free printed matter by or on behalf of a charity where the printed matter relates to or is intended for the benefit of the charity are exempt from the controls. A charity has the same meaning as in the Charities Act 2006.

The distribution of free printed matter for political purposes, or for the purposes of a religion or belief, are also exempt from the controls.

The organisation should apply for consent but there will be no charge for this. We would encourage organisations seeking to distribute matter under these exemptions to contact us in advance. In this way, we can confirm exemption status and issue a permit free of any charge. We ask that printed matter is still distributed responsibly and any material that is discarded, is collected.


It is an offence to distribute free printed matter or cause the distribution of free printed matter in any designated street or place without a consent from the Council to do so. Offenders are liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, (currently £2,500), or can be issued with a fixed penalty fine of £80.

An authorised council officer may seize any free printed matter from a person found distributing it in a designated place without the consent of the Council.

How to make an application

Application forms can be found in the Downloads and Resources section of this page. Applications must be submitted a minimum of five full working days before the consent is required. If making an application by post allow a minimum of three extra working days.

Send your application form to:

City of Doncaster Council
Enforcement Team
Civic Office

Incomplete application forms will be returned.

Payment methods

Fees are calculated as per the points system within the application form and run one year from the badge issue date therefore full fees are payable whenever you make an application.

Send a cheque or postal order along with your application form. You are advised not to send cash through the post. Make your cheque payable to ‘City of Doncaster Council’. If a receipt is required, send a stamped addressed envelope.

Debit/credit card (except American Express and Diners Card). If paying by this method, an officer will contact you after the application has been approved to take payment. Please ensure the card used is suitable for payments without the cardholder present.

Fees applicable for a distribution licence

Select the relevant box(es) in each section and then add your points total up – this will allow you to identify the cost of your licence.

How many days per week do you wish to distribute printed matter?

Days Required No. of Points
1 day per week 2
2 days per week 4
3-4 days per week 6
5 days per week 8
6-7 days per week 10

Which days/times do you wish to distribute printed matter? (Select the boxes that apply to the times when you intend to distribute printed matter – use only the highest points figure when calculating your total number of points).

Days / Times

No of Points

Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm


Saturday and Sunday between 7am and 6pm


Monday to Thursday between 6pm and 7am


Friday to Sunday, between 6pm and 7am


What is the nature of the event, venue or premises that you are promoting?

Promotion item No. of Points
The free printed matter promotes a single product, event, venue or premise located within the Doncaster area only. 0
The free printed matter promotes a single product, event, venue or premise located outside of the Doncaster area. 5
The free printed matter promotes several different products, events, venues or premises. Events located within the Doncaster area only. 10
The free printed matter promotes several products, events, venues or premises located outside of the Doncaster area. 15

Table of fees
Please note all fees include one distribution badge.

Total No. of Points Cost of Licence
1-5 £271.00
6-9 £406.00
10-15 £542.00
16-23 £677.00
24+ £800.50

Extra badges £34.50 per badge


Any person aggrieved by the decisions of the Council may appeal to Doncaster Magistrates' Court.

The Court may:

  • Uphold any refusal to grant consent or require the authority to grant consent (without limitation or condition or subject to any limitation or condition)
  • Require the authority to revoke or vary any condition
  • Uphold or quash revocation of consent (or uphold or quash revocation to any extent)


Last updated: 09 April 2024 10:55:28

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