The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Saint-Gilles covers illegal billboards with see-through foil

14:18 12/12/2019

Saint-Gilles officials have covered up a series of digital billboards put up by the JC Decaux advertisement firm. 

Alderwoman Catherine Morenville said that the advertising company had installed digital billboards at four locations in the commune without the required permit from the Brussels-Capital Region.

But JC Decaux said the company had received a permit to operate the digital billboards from Brussels’ regional government.

The commune, however, has lodged an appeal against the issuing of the permit as a result of which the billboards cannot be operated in the meantime. On Wednesday, city workers covered the billboards with see-through plastic foil.

“The billboards make traffic more unsafe, use a lot of energy and are eroding the quality of public space,” Morenville told Bruzz

Many local communes have opposed the JC Decaux digital billboards, and Belgium’s institute for traffic safety Vias has warned that the billboards are unsafe because they distract road users.  

JC Decaux general director Jérôme Blanchevoye, meanwhile, said Brussel Capital-Region officials had told him that Saint-Gilles’ appeal did not have a suspensory effect.

The dispute over the digital billboards follows from an agreement between the Brussels-Capital Region and JC Decaux, which also manages the bike share scheme Villo. As part of the deal, JC Decaux can replace a third of its traditional billboards with digital billboards but must, in return, replace a third of its fleet with e-bikes.

Photo courtesy Catherine Morenville

Written by Linda A. Thompson