It is a regular sight in the run-up to elections but a Scots council wants to ban "unsightly" campaign posters on lamp posts saying it's off-putting for tourists.

Highland Council has allowed candidate material on street lights and public buildings for many years, provided it complies with certain rules.

However, members will be asked to approve a ban later today on the display of any campaign-related material on council-owned assets with the exception of tenanted homes.

The local authority said the Highlands is a major tourist attraction bringing visitors from around the world and a poster-free environment "may portray tidier, environmentally friendly communities".

It said there is no evidence that posters increase voter turnout and campaigning tools have developed and diversified considerably over the last few years and now include much greater use of online and social media options, besides the more traditional campaign activities.

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Currntly only five of Scotland’s thirty-two local authorities permit election posters to be placed on council assets; Argyll and Bute, Highland, West Dunbartonshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Shetland Islands Councils.

The Herald:

In 2015, a campaign was launched against a plan by Argyll and Bute to introduce a ban.

Former Highland and Island MSp John Finnie said it was "a Scottish tradition and a visible expression of our democratic values."

If approved, the Highland ban will take effect after the Tain and Easter Ross council by-election on September 28, following the resignation of  Sarah Rawlings of the Liberal Democrats due to ill health.

The council say the proposal will have a positive impact on resources reducing time spent dealing with complaints from the public, liaising with Police Scotland and pursuing the removal of posters as well as reducing carbon footprint.

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Highland Council said it had dealt with 10 individual complaints after the most recent Highland Council Election in 2022. Three involving the "defacing" of candidate posters were reported to Police Scotland.

the council said: "Whilst this number may not seem excessive on first consideration it is important to recognise that each issue might result in lengthy and complex discussions with those involved to achieve a resolution."

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Parties or independent candidates who do not remove posters immediately will be charged for council removal.

It does not have the power to deal with campaign materials placed on privately owned property or roads.

Due to boundary changes the next General Election, which is due by January 25, will be administered with Moray and Argyll and Bute Councils.

Argyll and Bute allow posters while Moray does not. If agreed the revised policy will be shared with the other councils.

It comes amid warnings that there will be “serious disruption” to the next general election as voter identification is introduced nationally.

Under the new ID policy introduced by the Conservative Government, this year’s local elections in England were the first time voters were required to show ID before collecting their ballot paper at polling stations.

It will be widened to cover UK general elections from the autumn, meaning it is likely to be a requirement at the next Westminster election.

Electoral administrators surveyed for a report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) raised concerns over rolling out the policy when faced with significant staff shortages, strained resources and complex electoral law.