Councils will soon have the power to remove 'pointless' road signs that are deemed an eyesore and a distraction to drivers.
The number of signs on British roads has more than doubled from 2.45 million in England in 1993 to an estimated 4.57 million in 2013.
Now simpler rules are being brought in this Friday (April 22) to give town halls the power to take down signs deemed unnecessary and, for the first time, signs that say ‘new’ layout ahead will have ‘remove by dates’ on the back so they are not needlessly left in place for years.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "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.
"These new rules will also save £30 million in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely."
The department has appointed Sir Alan Duncan MP to lead a task force that is looking at removing pointless signs – and this crackdown will pave the way for wider changes.
The department says cutting the number and size of signs will help reduce unnecessary eyesores for all road users and local residents.
Councils are responsible for signs on their local roads and are expected to save £30 million in running costs by 2020 as a result of the simpler new sign rules.
Fewer signs also need to be lit than before, which the department says will save energy costs and light pollution. Safety signs must still be lit, for example – stop signs or signs for low bridges.
New roundabout and layout signs can sometimes left up for years – and they should be taken down within three months. They will now have ‘remove by’ dates on the back, so residents know when they should go and can hold their local authorities to account.