Billboards to be removed from along the Czech motorways

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When driving along Czech motorways, motorists are bombarded with hundreds of large billboards encouraging them to buy various products or visit hotels, bars or brothels. But many of these outdoor advertisements have been put up illegally, and the Czech Ministry of Transport has decided to remove them and charge all costs to the companies involved. Alena Skodova reports.

Last June, a new law came into effect that bans constructing any new billboards within 250 metres of a motorway. But moving a billboard a few meters beyond this limit did not represent much of a problem for the owners of these billboards, so Czech motorists are still bombarded by colorful advertisements. Nevertheless, this may change when the Czech Republic joins the European Union, as a new Union directive prohibits all roadside advertising.

The director of the Association of Advertisement Agencies, Jiri Mikes, is not convinced that the situation will change, as the new directive is not binding.

"The European directive just recommends the banning of out door advertising along the highways, but, as a matter of fact, it is just a recommendation and I am not quite sure whether Czechia will accept this recommendation. As a fact, if I am right, there is no such law banning billboard advertising along the highway at the moment. Maybe something is being prepared, but I am not quite sure."

In Germany, for example, the directive has been fully implemented since the authorities believe that nothing that could distract the attention of motorists should be allowed anywhere highways. But opinions differ as to what effect billboards have on the concentration of drivers. Jiri Mikes again.

"Well, I read something about that in the papers. Maybe yes, but what I really don't like are billboards in beautiful natural scenery. I would prefer to have billboards near petrol stations and so on, exactly as it is in the EU."