New Rules for Confusing Road Signs enacted Today

April 22, 2016

Councils will have the power to take down pointless road signs which cause more harm than good as of today. New rules have been put in place today, 22nd April, and they mean that unnecessary and out of date road signs can be taken down.

Pointless and unnecessary road signs can be a distraction, can confuse drivers and they can also be an eyesore. There were a reported 4.57 million road signs on the roads in 2013 and many of these have no real purpose. Simpler rules have been put in place to let town halls take down the signs which are unnecessary and don’t have an effective role in the road infrastructure.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: “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.”

The signs not only look ugly on the streets they can distract and confuse drivers and mean they miss the essential messages they need. Bringing down the number of signs and ensuring only those we need are seen should mean that drivers are less at risk of becoming confused, following the wrong route or other infuriating things which can make a driver distracted. The simpler sign rules should also lead to a cash saving for local councils, with the government predicting as much as £30 million in running costs may have been saved by 2020.


Looking at the current signage they have found that there is the option to light fewer signs as well as remove some and new roundabout and road layout signs have been found to be left up for years when they should be taken down within three months. There will now by ‘remove by’ dates attached to these signs so local residents can report them if not removed in time.

There are other reforms being brought in at the same time including the requirement for both sign and road markings being removed in some cases, such as when a mandatory cycle lane or a permit holders only parking bay now only have to have a road marking and not a sign. Councils can also make their own decisions on how many speed limit signs they want in an area and there is no longer an obligation to place repeat speed limit signs.

Councils will begin making their changes as of today and you may see differences on your local roads and further afield in the near future.

Photo credit: © Copyright Stephen McKay and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence