Councils to scrap 'pointless' road signs under new powers

Local councils are being given the power to remove road signs they deem to be ‘pointless’ or ‘eyesores’, the Government has announced today.

The plans, set to be introduced on Friday by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, could see signs such as those for permit-parking zones and cycle lanes abolished by local councils.

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.”

Ministers have suggested that scrapping ‘pointless’ signs, including speed limit repeater signs, could save local authorities £30 million over the next four years. The move could also improve safety, it says, as drivers are less likely to be distracted.

Motoring organisation, the RAC, has welcomed the move – but suggested councils should take safety into consideration before simply scrapping all road signs they consider unnecessary.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Signage is at its most effective when it’s well designed and used in just the right location – and that location is rarely one that is surrounded by a plethora of other signs. A move to de-clutter our roadsides therefore makes a lot of practical, as well as economic sense, and will be welcomed by the 63% of motorists we spoke to that said our roads are too full of unnecessary signage.

“While responsibility for local signage should rest with councils, we do not believe the option of axing small speed limit repeater signs makes much sense. All road users benefit from regular reminders of the speed limit, especially on roads where the limit is not immediately obvious.”

In addition to giving councils the power to get rid of unnecessary road signs, McLoughlin is also intended to introduce ‘use-by’ dates for certain signs. These include those warning of a new roundabout or road layout, in a bid to prevent them being forgotten about.