EU flag must be removed from former MEP's house, Council orders


Catherine Bearder has been instructed by the city council to remove the European Union flag displayed outside her home. The former MEP expressed her astonishment

at the council's directive.

Since Europe Day on May 9, Bearder has proudly flown the EU flag at her property in Cowley, Oxford. She told the BBC that Oxford City Council should focus on more pressing issues rather than policing flag displays.

The council stated that the flag required planning consent due to post-Brexit legislation. Bearder, who represented South East England in the European Parliament from 2009 until the UK exited the EU in 2020, expressed her dismay:

"I'm astonished that Oxford City Council feels that it is a priority to police the flying of flags over the countless other responsibilities like tackling homelessness and providing community services. The Flag of Europe is proudly displayed on countless buildings and initiatives funded by the European Union, and this lovely university city and international student body benefited enormously through our membership of the union. I won't forget that, and I'm proud to show my continued support."

Flag Regulations Explained

Under current regulations, national flags of any country, flags of international organizations to which the UK belongs, and certain regional flags within the UK do not require consent. However, the European Union flag was removed from this list following Brexit, necessitating planning consent for its display.

The council noted that amendments to national legislation in 2021 require planning consent for certain flags. "The flag was reported to the council, who informed the resident that they needed to seek advertising consent as per national planning requirements," the council explained.

Council's Directive

The letter from Oxford City Council, seen by the BBC, informed Bearder of the complaint regarding the European flag at her property. It referenced the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007, requiring her to remove the flag until advertising consent is granted.

Bearder has been given until May 27, 2024, to comply with the directive. She mentioned her intention to replace the EU flag with the flag of Ukraine.

Oxfordshire notably voted to remain in the EU during the referendum, with 70% of voters supporting continued membership. The European Union website states that the flag "symbolizes both the European Union and, more broadly, the identity and unity of Europe." Photo by Keith Edkins, Wikimedia commons.

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