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Billboards banned from city streets

Grenoble’s green mayor says advertising hoardings are obsolete and will replace them with trees

ADVERTISING hoardings are being banned in the streets of Grenoble – and the ecologist mayor is planning to replace them with trees.

The mairie says it is not renewing its annual contract with publicity group JCDecaux, in a move that will cost €150,000 a year. Only stand-alone panels are affected as bus-stops will still carry advertising for the moment.

Grenoble was the first city in France to elect an ecologist mayor and getting rid of the hoardings was a campaign promise by Eric Piolle, of the EELV. It is a first in France and Europe.

His assistant mayor, Lucille Lheureux, said there had been billboards in Grenoble since 1976 but they were now obsolete and out of keeping with the today’s city, its people and its landscape.

She said that major companies’ repeated mass messages were out of place in a city that was trying to support local traders and where the motorist was no longer so important.

A before and after view
of getting rid of the
billboards in Grenoble

JCDecaux will start to dismantle the 326 illuminated panels in January and around 50 trees will be planted where appropriate.

The council also intends to use the space freed up to publicise local activities and cultural events, but any advertising will be on a much smaller scale – to be read by pedestrians, rather than drivers.

Ms Lheureux denied claims from JCDecaux that the city was spurning €600,000 a year in getting rid of hoardings and said: “Traditional advertising revenues have plummeted due to competition from the internet and any new contract would have been for around €150,000 a year and not €600,000 as was the case between 2004 and 2014.”

She added that the city had already saved the money by cutting entertainment expenses and councillors' allowances.

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