Leaflet distribution in Town centres

Application Forms to distribute free leaflets, flyer and other printed matter in town centres must be submitted a minimum of seven days before the required date.

You will need to obtain consent from East Herts Council whenever you wish to distribute free printed matter, generally leaflets or vouchers, in any of designated areas. The restrictions on distributing free literature apply to the town centre areas of Bishop's Stortford, Buntingford, Hertford, Sawbridgeworth and Ware as shown in green in each of the maps listed below.

Distribution in all East Herts owned car parks and open spaces within these areas is strictly prohibited.

It will be an offence, liable to a Fixed Penalty Notice fine, to distribute or cause to be distributed any free printed matter without such consent. The purpose of this scheme is to help the Council and residents to work together in keeping the streets, parks and open spaces free from the litter often associated with the distribution of free printed matter.

The scheme does not apply to the distribution of free printed matter by or on behalf of a charity (within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993), or where the distribution is for political purposes, or for the purposes of a religion or belief. However, we encourage all organisations to apply for consent so we can confirm their exemption status, issue a free consent and monitor who is legally distributing in the town centres. No fee is applied to this service.

Normally consent will not be granted to distribute leaflets before 08:00 or after 18:00 on any day.

Maps showing the designated areas (highlighted in green) in which restrictions apply on the distribution of free literature for each of the five main towns of East Herts can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

How to apply for Consent to Distribute Free Literature

The Head of Housing & Health has been authorised to consider all requests for consent and issue the appropriate consent. An application form should be completed and returned with the fee if applicable:

Application forms must be submitted a minimum of 28 days before the required date. Please bear this in mind if you are making the application by post and allow a minimum of three extra working days for this.

Blanket Consent and Normal Consent

Blanket consent is a 'one-off' consent which would allow the named applicant to distribute free literature on a regular or frequent basis without applying for permission for each separate distribution. A time period for the Blanket Consent will be set at the discretion of the Head of Housing & Health but this is not normally for more than 1 year

To apply for Blanket Consent an applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are employed by, or are to distribute on behalf of:

  • A 'not for profit' organisations, or
  • A charity within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993, where the printed matter relates to or is intended for the benefit of the charity, or
  • Or where the distribution is for political purposes or for the purposes of a religion or belief.

Where there is any doubt about the above factors the decision of the Head of Housing & Health will be final.

The applicant must also be able to demonstrate the need for regular or frequent distributions as playing an important role in the success of the organisation.


The 2023/24 fee is £34 inclusive of VAT @ 20%


Please read our Conditions of Consent which must be complied with.

Non-Commercial events

We frequently get enquiries from groups that wish to have a stall or table on the highway whilst distributing information about their group or charity. This is not something that East Herts Council can authorise so you should contact Hertfordshire County Council Highways via email at least 14 days before the event. They can be contacted via email: CSCHighways@hertfordshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 123 4047.

If you want to collect money for a charity, please see our Charity Collections webpage.

If you wish to sell any items, which is likely to make your event commercial then please see our Markets and Street Trading webpages.

Anyone placing items on the highway should ensure that they have Public Liability Insurance in place in case of any accidents.