Councils told to reduce cluttered street signs

Local councils have been told to cut the number of unnecessary road signs, railings and advertising hoardings to make the UK's streets tidier and less confusing.

The Department for Transport is urging local authorities to reduce the amount of street 'clutter' and is asking communities to let their councils know of any particularly badly affected areas.

"We all know that some signs are necessary to make our roads safe and help traffic flow freely," said transport secretary Philip Hammond. "But unnecessary street furniture is a waste of taxpayers' money and leaves our streets looking more like scrap yards than public spaces."

The Government feels that some councils have installed large amounts of signs in the mistaken belief that they are legally required. However, the DfT says that signs are at their most effective when they are kept to a minimum. It will be reviewing the policy on signs and releasing new advice on how to 'cut the clutter' later this year.

Tony Burton, director of Civic Voice feels that fewer signs can make an area safer: "In addition to reducing clutter, well designed streets can also help reduce accidents. Street clutter was removed from Kensington High Street, which has helped reduce accidents by up to 47 percent."

Community secretary Eric Pickles said: "Too many overly cautious town hall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law. Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, freer authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain."
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