Local authorities urged to continue road sign cull

12.00 | 4 January 2013 | | 3 comments

Thousands of traffic signs are being brought down across the country as part of a Government drive to rid streets of clutter.

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, yesterday (3 January) urged local authorities to continue the cull. He has also published a new document, ‘Reducing sign clutter’, that provides guidance to local authorities on how to remove unnecessary traffic signs as cost-effectively as possible.

In London alone 8,000 repeater signs and 4,000 poles installed in the early 1990s have been removed. The transport secretary is encouraging other local authorities across the country to follow suit.

Mr McLoughlin said: “There are too many unnecessary signs blotting the landscapes of our towns and cities. That is why I have published new guidance, to help encourage local authorities to make old, confusing and ugly signs a thing of the past.

“I want to congratulate London, Hampshire and Somerset councils for leading the way and getting rid of sign clutter. They are a fantastic example and I urge other councils to think about where traffic signs are placed and whether they are needed at all."

Dana Skelley, director of roads at Transport for London (TfL), said: “Unnecessary street clutter can make the journeys of all road users awkward, regardless whether they are motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, and can dissuade people from visiting local areas.

“By identifying and removing unnecessary poles, signs and other street furniture, we can make our road network more accessible and help transform our city environment into one that people can enjoy working, shopping and socialising in.”

Shaun Spiers, chief executive of Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Individual signs may be added with the best intentions but before long can sprout into a forest of clutter that degrades our countryside and distracts drivers. Rather than being hectored by health and safety signs alerting of any possible risk, people driving on rural roads should be encouraged to expect to share minor rural roads with a range of other road users.

“We hope many local authorities will take heed of the secretary of state’s call and make a spring clean of clutter one of their New Year’s resolutions.”

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    Someone should check the Flimwell crossroads in East Sussex. On the approach to the crossroads, there are over 50 signs on both sides of the road. If you read them all, you crash your car. This area has to be one of the most extreme cases I’ve ever seen of unnecessary roadsigns that can actually cause accidents. The crossroads is known for being an accident blackspot.

    Hex – Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Many signs may now be removed if the speed limit is 20mph or less. Many others no longer need lighting in 20mph limits. Both a capital and revenue saving that can come from setting speed limits at 20mph rather than 30mph.

    Rod King, Cheshire, 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Local groups and politicians continue to ask for more signage; I am in favour of reducing clutter but we need regulatory change on lighting of signs. More 20 signs and repeaters will more than make up for the few that are taken down. Shame Mr.Pickles didn’t mention advertising at the roadside.

    Olly, Lancs.
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