Councils urged to cut street clutter

09.00 | 26 August 2010 | | 4 comments

The government is urging councils in England to remove unnecessary road signs, railings and advertising boards in a bid to improve street safety (BBC News).

Eric Pickles, communities secretary, has accused ‘over-zealous’ councils of wasting tax payers’ money on signs that blight the local environment and leave motorists confused.

Mr Pickles and Philip Hammond, transport secretary, have written to council leaders urging them to remove the clutter.

Mr Pickles said: “We are being overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards, patchwork paving and railed off roads, wasting taxpayers’ money that could be better spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down. We need to ‘cut the clutter’.

"Too many overly-cautious town hall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law.

"Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain."

The DfT is reviewing the policy on traffic signs and will issue new advice on how to cut down on the clutter later this year.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    I work for a charity called Living Streets and our stance is that there is no one size fits approach to either decluttering or indeed the shared space concept. Instead we think that local communities must be involved in what is essential for their area, what clutter can be removed and what improvements might be needed in place.

    We’ve been working with communities and local authorities for some time now to help them to do this effectively, so there isn’t a complete removal of everything on the street, but instead, an informed, user-led approach to making streets better.

    Rowena Harding, London
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Further to this, and as an aside, why not de-clutter roundabouts and make them safer places for people to drive round without the need to come to a stop in order to evaluate if – and I say if – another vehicle is on the roundabout and hidden by the foliage that has been planted on it?

    Surely it would be simpler and less expensive to remove all the shrubery and large and obtrusive signage, including massive shevrons, and replace the centre with gravel which would require no maintenance at all?

    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    A traffic engineer in West Sussex, Nigel Wagstaff, successfully audited the county to determine which signs could be removed. He based it on a report that drivers fail to either see signs or do not know what they mean. Where possible with agreement from road safety officers signs were removed. This saved money on maintenance.
    Remember, any sign erected is just another object for someone to hit.

    Peter Wilson City of Westminster
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I agree entirely with this. Bring back Common Sense.

    However I have seen some of the new integrated road structures where vehicles and pedestrians share space and I must admit that it concerns me. As do the extent some councils will go to in order to be up to date at the expense of road safety.

    May I draw attention to the new apparent pedestrian crossings on Blackpool promenade. Severe reduction of road width, elevated road , Cobbles, look alike white and grey shevrons, small zig zags.[no parking within 5yrds] and none of this conforming to any current legislation with regard to crossings.

    No one knows if they have the right top cross or drive over.

    I’m just waiting for the accident to happen.

    Bob Craven – Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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