Can you fly an England flag outside your home during Qatar World Cup 2022? What the law says

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The World Cup is a week away and you might be starting to feel the excitement.

Football will kick off in Qatar next Sunday (20 November) with the host nation facing Ecaudor in the opening match. However the tournament has faced heavy scrutiny, from the human rights record of the hosts to the mid-season timing.

It is understandable if fans are not feeling in the spirit the same way they have for previous tournaments. But if you are excited to show your support for England, or any other nation competing for the World Cup, you might be wondering what the rules say about flying flags from your home.

Depending on how well the Three Lions get on at the tournament, you might be tempted to get into the patriotic spirit in the coming weeks. But if you are planning on flying your own flag at home or if you own a pub , there are a few laws to be aware of.

Here is all you need to know:

What does the law say about flying flags?

Our sister title the Portsmouth News previously ran a story about the laws on flying flags during football tournaments. The most recent flag controls, which are considered more liberal than in the past, were introduced in October 2012 by the Government and they requiring that all flags are subject to some standard conditions.

They must 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 and not obscure, or hinder the interpretation of official road, rail, waterway or aircraft signs, or otherwise make hazardous the use of these types of transporst. Also they should be removed carefully where so required by the planning authority.

There are three categories of flags - ones that do not need consent, ones that need consent provided they comply with further restrictions and flags which require consent.

Flags that do not need consent

  • Any country’s national flag, civil ensign or civil air ensign;
  • The flag of the Commonwealth, the European Union, the United Nations or any other international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member;
  • A flag of any island, county, district, borough, burgh, parish, city, town or village within the United Kingdom;
  • 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;
  • The flag of Saint David;
  • The flag of Saint Patrick;
  • The flag of any administrative area within any country outside the United Kingdom;
  • Any flag of Her Majesty’s forces;
  • The Armed Forces Day flag.

However the flags must not display any advertisements or subject matter additional to the design of the flag.

Three Lions flag. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)Three Lions flag. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Three Lions flag. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Flags that do not need consent provided they comply with certain restrictions

Under the law a number of categories of flags may be flown without consent subject to certain restrictions regarding the size of the flag, the size of characters on the flag, and the number and location of the flags.

  • House flag - flag is allowed to display the name, emblem, device or trademark of the company (or person) occupying the building, or can refer to a specific event of limited duration that is taking place in the building from which the flag is flown
  • Any sports club (but cannot include sponsorship logos)
  • The horizontal striped rainbow flag, such as the “Pride” Flag
  • Specified award schemes - Eco-Schools, Queens Awards for Enterprise and Investors in People

The restrictions on these flags, which would result in them needing consent, are related to where the flagpole is located on your home or the building you want to fly it from. If you have a vertical flagpole on the roof - you are only permitted to have one flag, but there are no restrictions on its size.

While if you have a flagpole projecting from anywhere else on the building - again you are only allowed one flag, it must not exceed two square metres in size. Also if you have a flagpole in the grounds of the building, you are allowed to fly up to two flags but the flagpole may not exceed 4.6 metres above ground level.

Flags which require consent

Any flag not identified above requires express consent from the local planning authority before it can be flown.