Local councils have been given new powers that allow them to remove roadside signage.
The scheme comes from a Department for Transport initiative to declutter Britain’s roadsides, which labelled some of the estimated 4.57million-plus roadside signs as "unnecessary" and "pointless".
The RAC has criticised certain aims of the scheme, such as the targeting of speed limit repeater signs for removal now that they are no longer a legal requirement.
Others signposted for removal are those which signify new road features. Instead they will be given ‘remove by’ dates ensuring they are not displayed for longer than necessary.
The DfT claims that the scheme will save taxpayers £30 million by 2020. Energy wastage will also be reduced, because safety signs are legally required to be illuminated. A spokesperson from the DfT was quick to add that it's not a mandatory change, but an optional one.
Critics of the proposal
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) questioned the logic of some of the proposals, saying: “We’re in overall support of what the Department for Transport is trying to do; there are far too many signs that have been left for too long, well after drivers have got the message about a road layout change.”
“Other aspects are about getting the balance right – a lot of signage is in place for the safety of drivers – which must be put first. Removing safety-conscious signage in the name of decluttering the roadside in road accident blackspots, should not happen - we’re very keen that safety-vital signage isn’t removed in the name of clutter.”
“The most contentious area is the removal of repeater speed limit signs. Drivers often do need to be reminded of the speed limit, particularly if the government is to be enforcing the limit more closely. Removing signage may make some drivers feel underinformed of the speed limit or even misled, if the signage of the speed limit isn’t enough.”