1. ITV Report

End of the road for many traffic signs

Road sign in Canary Wharf. Photo: Reuters

Thousands of traffic signs are being brought down across London as part of a Government drive to rid the streets of the capital of clutter.

Sign seen near Heathrow, as an aircraft descends to land at the west London airport. Credit: Reuters

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has urged local authorities to continue the cull.

He has also unveiled a new document called Reducing Sign Clutter that provides guidance to local authorities on how to remove unnecessary traffic signs as cost-effectively as possible.

In London alone 8,000 repeater signs and 4,000 poles installed on the capital's roads in the early 1990s have been ripped out. Laid out side by side these would stretch almost 2.5 miles.

The Transport Secretary is encouraging other local authorities across the country to follow suit

There are too many unnecessary signs blotting the landscapes of our towns and cities.

That is why I have published new guidance, to help encourage local authorities to make old, confusing and ugly signs a thing of the past.

I want to congratulate London, Hampshire and Somerset councils for leading the way and getting rid of sign clutter.

They are a fantastic example and I urge other councils to think about where traffic signs are placed and whether they are needed at all.

Unnecessary street clutter can make the journeys of all road users awkward, regardless whether they are motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, and can dissuade people from visiting local areas.

By identifying and removing unnecessary poles, signs and other street furniture, we can make our road network more accessible and help transform our city environment into one that people can enjoy working, shopping and socialising in.

– Dana Skelley, Director of Roads at Transport for London

The new traffic signs advisory document provides local authorities with various hints and tips to help get them started in removing pointless signs.

  • Improving the streetscape by identifying and removing unnecessary, damaged and worn-out signs
  • Helping to ensure signs are provided only where they are needed
  • Minimising the environmental impact, particularly in rural settings
  • Reducing costs, not just of the signs themselves but maintenance and energy costs

However, many people on Facebook said they were against the initiative:

Well how are people going to be able to drive around London without traffice signs then!?! Can the government not find anything worthwhile to spend the money on???

– Marian Henry

Depends what signs they planning on taking down + is it just another...way of fining drivers because we won't have a clue of what we can or can't do on those roads.

– Angela Robinson

But CalendarGirl tweeted that road signs could sometimes be unnecessary:

The traffic advisory leaflet in reducing sign clutter is available to view here.