Local Authorities flying EU flags over their buildings are breaking the law.
They are contravening Section 19 of the Local Authority Guidelines on Publicity which says that the local authority is not permitted to spend public money on trying to convince the public to hold a political view.
The Town & Country Planning Act is the law that deals with advertising. Under the Act, national flags are exempt from planning regulations. The EU flag is not a national flag within the meaning of any Act of Parliament in this country and is therefore advertising which requires planning consent.
In order for a local authority to fly the EU flag, they must first obtain planning permission from themselves. To do this, they have to submit a plan to the planning board with the accompanying fee and then give themselves permission to fly the flag.
Once they have ignoreed any objections and given themselves planning permission, they must purchase an EU flag and, in some cases, erect a new flag pole.
The European Union is a political project, a view backed up by the current chief executive of Telford & Wrekin Council who states that there are three levels of government in the borough - local, national and European. He did go on to say that the EU isn't political but quite how an organisation can be a layer of government and not political is beyond me.
So, basically, the local authority is spending public money flying the EU flag. The EU flag is the symbol of a political project and is classified by law as advertising. The purpose of advertising is to market an idea or product - to convince the audience that what is being advertised is something they want or need. The local authority is not allowed to spend public money trying to convince the public to hold a particular political view which can be the only intention of advertising the EU.
The local authority is breaking the law.
Telford & Wrekin Council are still intent on clinging to their comfortable view that all is well and I imagine they must be particularly reassured by this article by European Movement UK, another wheel of the EU marketting and propoganda machine.
I really don't know whether they are really convinced of their argument or whether they think they can just ride out the storm. Either way they're about to be turfed out of their comfort zone.