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'Unnecessary' signs criticised

PUBLISHED: 15:46 21 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 05 July 2010

MOTORISTS in Suffolk are bombarded with "unnecessary" road signs that only create distraction and waste taxpayers' money, campaigners have claimed.

The Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) is calling for a review of road signage in the county and for any deemed non-essential to be removed.

MOTORISTS in Suffolk are bombarded with “unnecessary” road signs that only create distraction and waste taxpayers' money, campaigners have claimed.

The Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) is calling for a review of road signage in the county and for any deemed non-essential to be removed.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England said it had found that seven out of every 10 signs were “unnecessary” and now the SPS wants the county council to take a tough line on roadside clutter. On one stretch of the A12 near Woodbridge, less than a mile long, there are more than 60 signs of various types.

Richard Ward, SPS director, said: “There are areas where we feel the council do not get it right. The more signs we have to absorb, the less time we have to concentrate on the road.”

He added: “Who is responsible? Is there a dedicated person to do a sign audit? And have we got more than we need?”

Mr Ward said “generally” the council did remove unnecessary signs when they were brought to officers' attention.

But he said signs to “count down” motorists to a change in speed limit were unnecessary and questioned why more than a dozen signs had recently been put up around the county to inform drivers that an accident site is under investigation.

“Why do we need this sign? It has got to add something to the driver's information,” said Mr Ward.

A spokesman for the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “By definition a typical driver has to assimilate lots of information at any moment.

“Some signs can be lifesavers whereas others seem like clutter and are not really relevant.

“It would be sensible for a local authority to review them and say do we really need them? It is important someone takes an overview.”

Suffolk County Council said it was trying to cut down on the use of official signs.

A spokesperson said when they needed to replace or maintain a sign they assessed the signs in the vicinity to decide if they could take any down.

“We do not want drivers to be distracted from where they are going and if we can combine signs together then we will do so,” she said.

“Illegal signs such as those advertising fetes, we do every now and then go and have a bit of a clear up, but we do need to know about them and we ask the public to call us on 0845 6066067 if they see clutter.”

The Department for Transport is currently in the early stages of a nationwide traffic signs review which lists among its aims, reducing the environmental impact road signs have.

A spokesperson said the review began in mid-September but had not yet reached the consultation stage.

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