Calls for crackdown on 'harmful' advertising around city

City councillor, Martin Schmierer, with some graffiti on the historic Music House in King Street.

City councillor, Martin Schmierer, with some graffiti on the historic Music House in King Street. - Credit: Denise Bradley

City leaders are being urged to crack down on advertisements for fast food, gambling and other "harmful" products and activities. 

Next week, members of Norwich City Council will debate the impact advertising potentially damaging things has on the community, as Green Party councillors table a motion raising the matter.

Originally brought forward in March, Martin Schmierer, who represents the Mancroft ward, is calling for City Hall to take a strong stance against the advertising of things such as fast food, gambling and payday loans - along with organisations that have damaging impacts on the environment.

But after time lapsed on the March meeting, the debate is returning in timely fashion, following the controversial collapse of Norwich City's sponsorship deal with Asian gambling firm BK8.

And Mr Schmierer said he was keen to eradicate any risk that Norwich City Council could tread on similar ground if it seeks advertising opportunities itself.

He said: "Part of the reason I want to bring this debate forward is to encourage the city council to think very carefully about the types of company it gets into bed with. The council does have advertising space in places like car parks and magazines, but we really need to think about which companies we associate with.

"While Norwich would not be the first place to do this, it would be a terrific message to send."

Behind the scenes from the BK8 main sponsorship announcement at Norwich City, Carrow Road.

Norwich City FC has released a statement after the backlash against its new sponsor BK8. - Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher

Mr Schmierer added that he hoped that in distancing itself from certain forms of advertisement, the council could set an example to others as well.

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The motion, which will be tabled on Tuesday, also calls for the council to lobby central government to ban advertising of gambling firms nationally on television and radio. 

The proposal has been welcomed by Ian Semel, who in 2002 founded Norwich-based charity Breakeven, which offers free counselling and support to people struggling with gambling addiction and those close to them.

He said: "Gambling firms would not spend so much money on advertising if it wasn't effective - and they do because it is relentless.

"Enough people struggle as it is and it can not take much to drag people back in, so I welcome anything that minimises this."