Although, on the whole, most UK motorists would agree that road signs are essential, there do seem to be more than the number required in some areas. In recent years road safety groups have raised the point that too many road signs can be distracting and could possibly increase the risk of accidents as well as making some roads more unattractive, especially in rural areas.
So in response to a call from the Department for Transport (DfT), local authorities have cleared more than 9,000 signs from the country’s roads that are deemed no longer necessary. Currently most have been removed from London with 8,000 repeater signs and poles that have been there for over 20 years have gone. In addition, in Somerset a further 1,000 signs have been removed and in Hampshire around 200 signs have gone from a 12 mile stretch of road.
This move is in response to the review the Department for Transport is currently doing of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions legislation, which came into effect in 2002; and more councils are expected to follow suit. By 2014 the Government are planning to give local authorities more say over where they can place signs.
Councils have been offered guidance by the DfT about how to remove the signs cost effectively, and as many are illuminated there should be some welcome savings.