I was reading up on UK planning law, in particular the rules on the right to fly flags. I fly the English national flag, but have wondered - what other flags can I fly, without the local authorities bothering me? Can I legally fly the White Dragon? In recent years left-leaning councils had taken it upon themselves to write to English nationalists, who proudly flew the national flag, and (wrongly) told them they needed their permission to fly the flag. The law in the UK is that you do not need permission to fly a national flag.
I've copied the law regarding flags below for UK readers to look at. But what interested me is the first line of the text - that flags are a way of expressing joy - for joy is symbolised by the Wynn rune, and the Wynn rune is that of a flag or pennant! As a manifestation of a symbol or idea, the banner is a rallying point, which is why so may military regiments across the world, and throughout history, put more urgency in protecting the colours than they did their own lives!
UK flag law - flags which do NOT need planning permission. (Notice that the historical Saxon kingdom of Wessex is listed - which means that anyone can fly the Wessex Golden Wyvern)
Flags are a very British way of expressing joy and pride – they are emotive symbols which can boost local and national identities and strengthen community cohesion (sic). The Government has recently made changes to regulations which widen the types of flags which you may fly in England. This guide provides a brief summary of the new, more liberalised, controls over flag flying that were introduced on 12 October 2012. Flags are treated as advertisements for the purposes of the planning regime and some require formal consent (permission) from the local planning authority, whereas others do not. The detailed controls over flag flying are set out in amended regulations (see link below) which are administered by local planning authorities. If you are unclear about whether consent is required for flying a flag you should contact your local planning authority who can provide detailed advice.
All flag flying is subject to some standard conditions
All flags must be:
• be maintained in a condition that does not impair the overall visual appearance of the site ;
• be kept in a safe condition;
• have the permission of the owner of the site on which they are displayed (this includes the Highway Authority if the sign is to be placed on highway land);
• not obscure, or hinder the interpretation of official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs, or otherwise make hazardous the use of these types of transport, and
• be removed carefully where so required by the planning authority. Subject to compliance with the standard conditions, there are 3 categories of flag: (a) flags which can be flown without consent of the local planning authority, (b) flags which do not need consent provided they comply with further restrictions (referred to as “deemed consent” in the Regulations) and (c) flags which require consent (“express consent”).
(a) Flags which do not need consent
The recent changes allow a wider range of national, sub-national, community and international flags. The full list of flags that do not require consent are:
(a) Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign;
(b) The flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any
other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member;
(c) A flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village
within the United Kingdom;
(d) The flag of the Black Country, East Anglia, Wessex, any Part of Lincolnshire,
any Riding of Yorkshire or any historic county within the United Kingdom;
(e) The flag of Saint David;
(f) The flag of Saint Patrick;
(g) The flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United
(h) Any flag of Her Majesty’s forces;
(i) The Armed Forces Day flag.
The above flags or their flagpoles must not display any advertisement or subject matter additional to the design of the flag, but the Regulations now highlight that you can attach a black mourning ribbon to either the flag or flagpole where the flag cannot be flown at half mast, for example, when flying a flag on a flagpole projecting at an angle from the side of a building. The use of the word “country” in (a) and (g) of the list above, includes any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and any British Overseas Territory. The flags of St George and St Andrew are recognised as the national flags of England and Scotland, but the flags of St David and St Patrick are listed separately as they do not necessarily fall into the category of a country’s national flag.