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Statutory regulations liberalising the flying of flags.

A new set of regulations removing the bureaucracy surrounding the flying of flags in England ( The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 ) has been enacted. This new ruling has defined categories of flags that no longer require planning permission to be flown as follows;

“ the following flags do NOT require planning consent:

(a) Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign;

(b) The flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member;

(c) A flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within theUnited Kingdom;

(d) The flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire, any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom;

(e) The flag of Saint David;

(f) The flag of Saint Patrick;

(g) The flag of any administrative area within any country outside theUnited Kingdom;

(h) Any flag of Her Majesty’s forces;

(i) The Armed Forces Day flag.

1. Neither the flag nor the flagstaff may display any advertisement or subject matter additional to the design of the flag other than a black mourning ribbon.

2. In paragraphs (a) and (g) of this Class, “country” includes any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and anyBritishOverseas Territory.


No further definition of these flags is provided however; the regulations do not come with specific illustrations of any particular flags, so any officials wishing to determine if a flag falls within any of the above categories must seek some other reference of authority. As there is no legally enshrined, flag authorising body or official list, the “Flag Registry” established by the Flag Institute, is still the closest we come in the UK to an official sanction of actual flag designs. In fact as it is the only listing of such entities as county or regional flags that exists, its usefulness would seem to have increased.

We might also welcome the explicit reference to “historic county” in the wording, which gives us further scope to promote flags for the real counties.

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