The Government’s “bonfire of the traffic signs” risks turning into a flood of litigation as drivers appeal against parking and speeding fines on the grounds of insufficient signage, writes Joe Dunn.
The warning comes in the wake of new powers given to councils aimed at decluttering Britain’s roads, which come into effect today.
Under the new system, councils have the power to remove signs they deem unnecessary, including those indicating residents’ parking spaces as well as speed limit repeater signs, which appear on many of the country’s roads.
The Government claims the move will reduce “pointless” road signs and is a key part of its drive to deregulate the transport network. It will also save councils an estimated £30?million over the next four years in upkeep costs.
Motoring experts, however, claim that the changes are a “mess” and may result in drivers being unfairly penalised. They say many will be within their rights to appeal against speeding fines and parking penalty charges issued on roads where signs have been removed, and that courts will be more likely to find in their favour.
The confusion has echoes of the Government’s previous attempts at deregulating transport policy when it abolished the tax disc last year and axed the paper counterpart driving licence. Both moves quickly turned to farce as thousands of drivers found themselves clamped after forgetting to renew their tax without the visual reminder in their windscreen, while holidaymakers found they couldn’t hire cars without their paper counterpart licence.