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Councils told to remove ‘obsolete or unnecessary’ road signs

Councils told to remove ‘obsolete or unnecessary’ road signs


The Department for Transport is urging councils to remove road signs that are pointless or unnecessary in a bid to save money and improve conditions for drivers.

Describing useless traffic signs as a ‘blight’ on the landscape, the DfT argues that they are a waste of money, are unsightly and can even confuse more than help drivers.

Based on the work of the Road Signs Task Force set up in 2015 by Sir Alan Duncan MP, new guidance issued this week to councils encourages them to adopt a ‘less is more’ approach when designing and implementing new signs in the future.

The Task Force’s proposals included ensuring temporary road signs are given a ‘remove by’ date, making signs more visible on unlit roads, and preventing temporary signs from being cluttered with distracting information.

Research carried out by the DfT in 2013 found that the number of traffic signs had doubled in the past 20 years, so these measures could be seen as long overdue.

lots of road signs on a street

In the DfT’s new guidelines, it says that: “Reducing sign clutter was a key aim of the Traffic Signs Policy Review, and Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions therefore includes a number of changes to facilitate this. It provides a modern framework that means fewer signs need to be placed, and gives traffic authorities the right to remove many of their existing signs. This enables the message to have clarity without distracting road users and spoiling the environment. Overuse of any one type of sign dilutes the message being conveyed.”

The DfT also suggested some examples of pointless signs – such as a traffic light warning sign when the junction itself is visible, or a roundabout warning sign when the junction map sign gives ample alert to drivers.

The guidelines also give councils more freedom to mount signs on walls, railings or lamp posts in order to reduce street clutter. They will be allowed greater control on how they’re worded, too.