AN APPLICATION for two new electronic billboards in Otley is being opposed by local people.

Tate Oil in Otley has submitted the application for two electronic billboards outside its plant on Gay Lane.

Campaigners say these will be similar to the one on Piper Lane which has caused so much upset among local people. Community climate-action group Otley 2030 is supporting residents to object.

They say the Tate Oil installations are immediately opposite and directed towards the front of homes. They say the glare from other illuminated boards is so strong that some people have described it as “living in the middle of Blackpool Illuminations”.

A spokesperson from Otley 2030 said: “Both these boards are on dangerous stretches of road that have witnessed numerous accidents in recent years and further distractions to drivers will only increase this risk. We believe it should be the right of local citizens, particularly children, to use public highways in relative safety and free from large corporations trying to hawk their wares to them.

“We are currently living through climate and biodiversity crises, as recognised by Otley Town Council, Leeds City Council, and the UK government in their Climate Emergency declarations. One of these billboards uses as much electricity as 11 households, and that’s not taking into account the energy and resources required to produce them. The light pollution will also adversely affect the behaviour of local wildlife and migrating birds.”

Both sites are within the Otley Conservation Area. Otley 2030 believe these billboards to be completely at odds with the character of the town, as well as creating an unfair playing field, especially for smaller businesses who can’t afford to advertise there.

The group says a similar application has recently been refused in Bristol, so there is a precedent to stopping installations.

Otley 2030 are urging all local people to oppose the plans by going to the Leeds planning portal and submitting comments under the application code: 21/04352/ADV . The deadline is July 8.

A spokesperson for Tate Oil said: "We have submitted our application in good faith to the council that they will do all due diligence in relation to traffic issues, conservation issues and any other issues as they have the experts. We assume the council will explore all the issues raised as part of the application process and will let us know in due course what is and isn’t acceptable. The screen we are looking at is much more modest in relation to Piper Lane in both size and brightness and in addition, will have a light meter installed that automatically reduces brightness as it gets darker to protect the local environment. The screen will only be static images to limit distraction. The screen is designed to capture people entering and leaving Otley and as this is primarily during the day, we envisage the screen will be turned off overnight. The screen we are exploring utilises the latest energy saving technology.

"We made a promise to the Colin Pitt Garage on Leeds road that while the garage was open on Leeds road we wouldn’t advertise fuel in our premises. As the garage subsequently closed we explored advertising our business to passing traffic entering Otley. In addition to advertising our own business we can offer a good advertising service to many small businesses in Otley which people will see as they enter the town from Leeds Road. We will do this at a fair and subsidised rate for local businesses. The focus of advertising will be local and Yorkshire businesses alongside our business. National Brands hadn’t entered our thinking.

"As a local family business, operating in Otley since 1878 and now employing around 100 people (with a plan to increase headcount by 12 in the near future in the Otley office) we need to continually work to advertise our businesses to ensure we can keep people in employment long into the future. One of those avenues includes our experienced heating engineers who are now installing renewable energy systems as well as traditional system to help local people transition at a time and pace that works for them and help achieve local sustainability goals."