April 19 2016.

The removal of the requirement to place repeat speed limit signs is one of a raft of changes in new legislation which comes into force across Britain later this week.

The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 take effect on Friday, the  22nd of April, and replace those set in 2002. The new legislation follows a consultation on the issue which received 140 responses from 55 local authorities across Great Britain.

Under the new legislation, local authorities can now make their own decisions on how many speed limit signs are needed so that drivers know what limits apply.

This move has been met with a negative reaction from the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD), which says this can “Only result in multiple signing standards, the creation of real danger, genuine confusion and the criminalisation of swathes of the motoring public”.

The government says the new regulations give councils the powers to ‘tear down pointless road signs’, on the back of figures which show that between 1993 and 2013 the number of road signs in England increased by 83% to 4.57m.

The new regulations also allow councils to install new eye-level cycle traffic lights to make busy junctions easier and safer for cyclists, following ‘successful trials’ of the concept.

Other changes include:
- A requirement for new road signs to carry imperial and metric measurements for height, width and length limits.

- The removal of the need for a Traffic Regulation Order for unrestricted parking bays.

- Signs must be retroreflective if street lighting is switched off during part of the hours of darkness.

- Directions that apply to the mounting and backing of permanent signs will also apply to portable and temporary variable message signs.

- The inclusion of the tunnel restriction code sign in the new Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions.

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, 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 £30m in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.”

Despite welcoming the move to reduce the number of unnecessary signs, the RAC has expressed concern over the removal of speed limit repeater signs.

Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, said: “Signage is at its most effective when it’s well designed and used in just the right location – and that location is rarely one that is surrounded by a plethora of other signs. A move to de–clutter our roadsides therefore makes a lot of practical, as well as economic sense, and will be welcomed by the 63% of motorists we spoke to that said our roads are too full of unnecessary signage.

“While responsibility for local signage should rest with councils, we do not believe the option of axing small speed limit repeater signs makes much sense. All road users benefit from regular reminders of the speed limit, especially on roads where the limit is not immediately obvious."