UGLY billboards and shop signs are set to disappear from many roadsides around town centres under a new law tackling visual pollution.
The wide-ranging Grenelle 2 environment law, which came into force on July 12, has introduced tougher rules on outdoor advertising.
For the first time, local communes will have the power to set their own limits on where advertisements can and cannot appear. Until now, billboards and signs were policed by the local préfecture, which had powers to deal only with the biggest structures, more than 1.5m tall.
Signs alongside routes nationales and départementales within a 5km radius of a town centre will generally be removed by 2015.
Exemptions apply to those indicating the presence of historic monuments, cultural activities or independent businesses selling local produce.
Communes will have the power to sign municipal decrees allowing advertising in agreed zones de publicité autorisée, such as around retail parks.