As a way to make Britain’s streets more easy on the eye, councils have been given the power to remove any road signs that they deem to be unnecessary, which could include signs indicating cycle lanes or warning of permit-parking zones.

Repeater speed limit signs could also be axed in a new scheme that could save local authorities £30 million over the next four years, according to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

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.”

According to the Department for Transport the number of road signs in England has almost doubled from 2.45 million to an estimated 4.57 million over the course of twenty years (1993-2013).

Several rule changes have been introduced which includes a ‘use by’ date for signs that warn drivers of a new road layout or a new roundabout, to prevent them from being forgotten about and left for many years to come.

However, the rule isn’t being welcomed by all as several motorists have claimed the changes to be a “mess” and could result in drivers being unfairly punished.

Motorists will be well in their right to appeal against any speeding or parking fine they receive issued on roads where signs have been removed.

The Government argues that local authorities will save a considerable amount on signs that they won’t have to keep lit up, though no changes will be made to the illuminated danger signs.

Another change planned by the DfT involves allowing cycle lanes and permit holders only access to be shown only via road markings, eliminating the need for a sign.

Like no-entry or no left turn, traffic restrictions would also only require a sign at the start “if it’s safe”.
Pedestrians and cyclists haven’t been neglected as it has been said that smaller signs and lower level signs will be available for pedestrians and cyclists.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC foundation, states: “The test of good traffic signing is whether they clearly and effectively tell drivers something they need to know. It must be right that this responsibility should sit with councils who manage most of our roads and know them inside out.”

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Raymond Christofides