Unnecessary road signs must now be removed within three months

Highways Reporters

Road signs have more than doubled in the past two decades but that is about to stop.

From next week (22 April), councils in England will get new powers to tear down swathes of signs that they believe are an eyesore and distract drivers.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Road signs should only be installed on our roads when they are essential. Our common-sense reforms will help get rid of pointless signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers.

“These new rules will also save £30 million in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) claims that councils, which are responsible for signs on their local roads, will make these savings through reduced running costs.

The DfT claims savings for councils will come from areas such as less power with fewer signs meaning less lighting.

The changes are part of an attempt by a DfT taskforce led by Sir Alan Duncan to reduce roadside clutter.

Between 1993 and 2013, the number of signs on English roads more than doubled from 2.45 million to an estimated 4.57 million.

Under the new rules, councils can take down unnecessary signage and signs that read ‘new’ layout ahead must have ‘remove by dates’ on the rear.

From next week signs such as ones reading 'New Road Layout Ahead', 'New Traffic Islands Ahead' or 'Changed Priorities Ahead', must all be taken down within three months.

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