Headlines: April 25th, 2007



Local councils that allow advertising signs to be placed on roundabouts are being criticised today by a conservation group. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England says the signs are the least welcome addition to rural scenery and claims they compromise road safety. It is worried that there are more and more of the signs and that the local authorities responsible for the roundabouts are encouraging them.

The Government has issued tougher guidelines on unauthorised advertising alongside main roads and has said more than 300 advertisements have been removed in the past year. The CPRE’s concern is that at the same time, a growing number of district and county councils are allowing additional ‘countryside clutter’ on other roads as a way of raising money. It believes the problem started in South Oxfordshire but has now spread to other areas.

In some cases, it says, sponsorship signs have been put at every exit from a roundabout, but says its own investigations have revealed that in some cases the signage does not have the necessary consent. Even in cases where consent has been granted the CPRE believes it should have been refused.

Paul Miner, CPRE’s Planning Campaigner, said the Government and the RAC Foundation had clearly stated that roadside clutter caused damage to the countryside and threatened road safety. Local councils, he said, needed to go through the planning process and give proper consideration to the views of the public.

“If the sponsoring companies really want to make a difference, perhaps they could sponsor a programme of reducing the number of unnecessary signs on our roads, and ensuring that the ones we do need aren’t obscured by overgrowth, in return for publicity on printed council literature. Instead, we’re seeing yet another step towards the cluttering of our countryside, and yet another potentially hazardous distraction for drivers,” he added.