Brent Council will decide tonight on controverisal plans to licence leafleting in the borough

Under proposals anyone who wants to distribute free literature would have to pay �175 for a permit plus additonal costs

Councillors will decide whether to charge campaigners who hand out leaflets at a meeting tonight.

Plans were unveiled last week proposing that anyone who wants to hand out free literature would have to apply for a licence at a cost of �175.

The new restrictions would not apply to charities, religious organisations or political parties.

However, when the Times asked if community groups campaigning on local issues would be charged, the council said yes even though a decision is expected to be made tonight.

However, Michael Read, assistant director of Environment and Neighbourhoods, has since said campaigners would be exempt.

In a response, he wrote: ‘Whilst the interpretation of the wording would ultimately be a matter for the courts, the council’s view is that the kind of issues you mention fall within the definition of ‘political purposes’, would benefit from the exemption and would not need a licence.’

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The council says it is trying to combat litter especially in the run-up to the Olympic Games.

The areas where the ban would be in place include Kilburn High Road, Cricklewood Broadway, Willesden High Road, Walm Lane, Harlesden High Street, Bridge Road Wembley, Olympic Way and Kingsbury

Anyone wanting to distribute would have to pay �175 and apply 14 days before the event. Further licences would cost �75.

In addition, people handing out leaflets would be forced to wear an authorised badge and a hi-visibility tabard. Anyone caught distributing without a licence could be prosecuted and face a �2,500 fine.

A decision will be made tonight at Brent Town Hall, in Forty Lane, Wembley, from 7pm.