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Remove-by dates mooted for road signs

Plans to print remove-by dates on the back of temporary road signs have been revealed as part of a drive to declutter Britain’s highways.

The proposal – designed to ramp up pressure on local authorities to take down out-of-date signs – is one of several outlined this morning.

The Department for Transport is consulting on a range of measures to make it easier to use the country’s roads. It also launched a taskforce to tackle the overuse of traffic signs, which will be overseen by Conservative MP Sir Alan Duncan.

The consultation document says: “Some of the most common traffic signs left in place longer than allowed are signs indicating a change in the road layout, for example New Roundabout Ahead.

“We propose that this sign has a remove-by date on the back of it, so that the date by which a sign ought to have been removed is clear. This change might, for instance, lead to members of the public letting the local highway authority know if it is not taken down within the time limit.”

Other measures in the consultation document include:

  • Ensuring traffic signs are retroreflecitve on roads were street lights are turned off after dark
  • Banning advertising on variable message signs
  • Encouraging use of metric as well as imperial measurements on height, width and length limit signs

Transport secretary Patrick Mcloughlin said: “Useless traffic signs blight our landscape, waste taxpayers’ cash and can be a dangerous distraction to drivers.

“We are restoring common sense to Britain’s roads while ensuring drivers have the information they need to get about safely. We have already made much progress but Sir Alan Duncan’s new taskforce is an important step towards striking the right balance.”

The government said the number of traffic signs on Britain’s roads had doubled in the last 20 years.

“The UK has erected thousands of road signs which are completely unnecessary, such as traffic light warning signs when you can see the lights themselves,” said Duncan.

“We are going to look at how we might get rid of whole categories of unnecessary signs and improve the look of our roads and streets.”

The taskforce will present its recommendations to the government by the end of this year. The consultation will close on 6 October.

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