‘Pointless’ signs cause confusion, clutter the streets and are a waste of taxpayers money


The Department for Transport (DfT) have asked local councils to get rid of ‘pointless’ road signs, as they could cause confusion for motorists as well as cluttering up the streets and are a waste of taxpayers money.

The department’s Road Signs Task Force have new guidelines which call on local authorities to look at road signs in their area and remove those classed as ‘obsolete or unnecessary’.

In a recently published report, the DfT group are ordering local councils to run a ‘less is more approach’ when looking at installations in the future, with new rules for temporary signs.

According to the Road Signs Task Force, the current cluster of road signs are ‘blighting the landscape’ in many villages and towns which in turn means unnecessary costs for taxpayers.

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DfT asks local councils to remove ‘pointless’ road signs to avoid confusion for motorists and create less clutter. © Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

They also include deadlines on temporary road signs used to inform drivers of diversions and intended road works.

Local councils have been advised to assign ‘remove by’ dates, with all signs left on the side of the road so that they can be collected as soon as they’re no longer needed.

The document sent to local authorities from the DfT group ask that all red signs warning of a ‘new road layout ahead’ must be removed within three months of the worked being finished, whilst yellow & black signs warning of new tarmac and ongoing construction work at housing developments need to be taken down no more than 6 months after work is completed.

Furthermore, brown tourist information signs will be scaled down to only ‘major destinations’ and must be positioned just two or three miles from the location.

Also, the task force want no more than two signs to be placed on the same pole to avoid confusion for motorists, whilst councils should possibly consider fixing them on railings, lampposts or walls which are already at their disposal rather than creating more clutter on the roadside.

These are just a handful of ‘golden rules’ the task force expects will keep road signage to a minimum following a 2015 review which found that there’s a total of 4.6million signs currently positioned on our roads – double the amount compared to two decades ago.

‘The overuse of traffic signs blights the landscape, wastes taxpayers’ money and dilutes important safety-critical messages,’ says the DfT report, also stating: ‘Clutter also increases risks to road workers and creates additional maintenance burdens.’

The DfT group have also asked for speed limit signs informing motorists of a new limit to be only placed on the nearside of the road and not on both sides.

Also, when new road signs are installed, councils must take down old redundant ones that are no longer needed.

“The safety of road users is our top priority, which is why we want to ensure that signs are clear and consistent,” said a DfT spokesman, adding: “While local authorities are best placed to decide if they want to remove, replace or install new signs, we provide guidelines to help ensure these are easy to interpret and comply with regulations.”

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