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Directional Signs

All road users depend on traffic signs and road markings to provide information and guidance whilst on their journey. In contrast, Highway Authorities depend on the same signing and lining to efficiently manage the public highway, as an aid to road safety and traffic management and for the enforcement of traffic regulations. Traffic signs must provide the relevant information clearly, concisely and in good time so that the road user can make informed decisions and most importantly, travel safely.

There are different types of traffic signing and carriageway markings available for use, all of which are governed by the Department for Transport who help to limit the different types available. This assists in enabling road users to identify them quickly as does their uniformity of shape, colour and lettering. This uniformity alone however is not enough, there must also be uniformity in their use, siting and illumination.

With the decisions made with regard to signing and lining being made at a local level, it is important to have uniformity across the Borough backed by practice guidance, if this is to be successfully achieved.

St Helens Council as the local Highway Authority, through effective use of traffic signs and road markings, aim to promote the efficient working and enforcement of traffic regulations, aid traffic control and road safety whilst avoiding unnecessary sign clutter and reducing visual intrusion by using signs and materials appropriate to the context and setting.

Directional signage to establishments are often viewed as a marketing tool primarily, as opposed to being for traffic management or road safety purposes and as such, Central Government guidance to local Highway Authorities recommends that individually named establishments are not signed by such means on the public highway where traffic management and/or road safety issues issues are not occurring.

The Highway Authority is generally responsible for signing on the highway, however, signing on motorways and trunk roads is the responsibility of Highways England, which manages the network through county councils or consulting engineers. The motorways and trunk roads in St Helens fall into Area 10, which is currently managed on behalf of Highway England, by Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald.

Applications for directional signage should be placed in writing to the Traffic, UTC and Road Safety Section email contactcentre@sthelens.gov.uk.