New award rewards councils for sign clutter cull

12.00 | 19 March 2013 | | 6 comments

Councils’ efforts to remove unnecessary traffic signs will be recognised through a new award which will be presented at the annual CIHT Awards on 13 June.

The new Reducing Signs Clutter Award, launched yesterday (18 March) by Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, is part of the Government’s drive to cut the number of signs littering towns, cities and the countryside. Many local authorities are already getting rid of roadside clutter but the Government wants to see more action to make old and confusing signs a thing of the past.

Patrick McLoughlin said: “Pointless signs blot our landscape, confuse motorists, and are expensive to maintain.

“This new award is about recognising and showcasing the good work being done by local authorities across the country, and I urge councils who are taking action to tackle this problem to put themselves forward. I want these examples to inspire other councils to improve their streets and public spaces.”

The Reducing Signs Clutter Award will be presented at the 2013 CIHT Awards ceremony on 13 June in London.

Entries are open to local authorities in England who can demonstrate that they have taken steps to: improve the environment by providing less clutter; make savings in sign maintenance costs; conduct a sign audit to establish if signs need replacing; and remove signs that are no longer of use.

Click here for more information or to enter the award. The closing date for entries is 18 April.


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    How about sign distractions such as the accompanying flashing lights on motorway matrix for ‘Gritting’? Thanks for telling us, but the flashing ambers should not be used for standard messages, only warnings of ‘impending doom’! I don’t see the Govt. ministers cutting back on advertising, only in making it easier by relaxing planning regs. I agree with Hugh, everyone wants a sign to warn of something or a brown sign to signpost (advertise) their restaurant.

    Olly, Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    A practical difficulty in this is that it costs money to remove signs. Taking money from a maintenance budget to remove signs, at the expense of urgently needed maintenance work, is a difficult decision to make.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Kevin – in defence of the Government, they have not said that the new ‘clutter’ award will be an annual award – merely that it will be presented this year at the annual CIHT Awards ceremony.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed
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    A sign should only be installed if it points out that which is not obvious. Signs proliferate because it’s much cheaper to sign an upcoming hazard than to remove the hazard itself. Locally our Council has just installed flashing lights, windmills and dot matrix signs to warn of a hazardous crossroads, yet the number of crashes there continues unabated. In fact there was a pile-up there a week or two ago and one of the cars took out all the important direction signs on the junction. The solution to the problem junction is a roundabout, but that’s expensive to install, so we end up with the worst of all worlds, continuing crashes, pain and anguish and the landscape cluttered with useless signs.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Aside from the rather important issue of who exactly determines which signs are ‘pointless’, one fairly obvious question seems to have slipped the mind of whoever’s brainchild this is as well as the Transport Secretary who has endorsed it – what exactly is the use of an ‘annual’ award to take things away? How will an award be issued when all the ‘pointless’ signs have been removed? Will the Transport Secretary institute another award for re-erecting them? As an exercise in the pointless, I’d suggest this particular one has few equals!

    Kevin Willams, Survival Skills Rider Training
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    In terms of erecting signs, it seems the LAs are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. There are mandatory requirements for signs; then they get badgered from well-meaning individuals and groups for non-mandatory but subjectively useful “warning” signs; then after a headline-making fatal accident the media and local residents ask for a “sign” – I’ve even known of a Coroner ask for a ‘sign’ to be installed “to prevent a further tragedy”, where such a sign is wholly inappropriate and simply not allowed for in TSRGD. Then anti-speed enforcement pressure groups complain of not enough speed limit signs; then businesses and local attractions ask for signs; then there’s signs for new housing developments; then there’s the unofficial signs that mysteriously appear that have nothing to do with anything. Everyone wants a sign.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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