NEARLY 300 road signs in a Gwent borough have had to be disposed of since the default 20 mile per hour limit came into force.
The law – which meant the speed limit in most built up areas with street lighting changed from being 30mph to 20 – was hailed as the biggest change in motoring in Wales in a generation when it was introduced on September 17.
As a result signs which notified drivers of the maximum speed have had to be taken down and replaced – including some in areas where there was already a 20mph limit. In these areas, smaller, “repeater” signs to remind drivers a different limit to the standard was in force have had to be taken down now that the lower limit is the one drivers should assume applies in a residential area.
Councils say they have been trying to reuse the signs they’ve been taking down but some have had to be discarded.
Peter Hall has queried what has happened to road signs in Gwent, as a result of the 20mph legislation, through the Freedom of Information Act.
Answers from the five councils in Gwent, shared via the What Do They Know website, show that in Torfaen 285 were deemed to be “redundant” following the change in the legislation.
The borough council had told Mr Hall that it had sought to reuse road signs but said some were no longer of any use.
It told him: “The authority, where possible, have tried to reuse signs that have been removed in other locations across the network, however, signs considered to be redundant e.g. no longer needed or not of a suitable standard to be reused have been disposed of accordingly.”
Mr Hall was then given the figure of 285 when he asked how many were deemed to be redundant.
Monmouthshire County Council told Mr Hall that by the beginning of November, it couldn’t tell him how many signs were no longer required as it is still installing 20mph zones and changing signs, work that may not be fully completed until the end of this year. An officer told him: “We can’t answer the query presently.”
In response to Mr Hall’s original query, as to what the council had done with signs that were no longer required as a result of the introduction of the 20mph limit, it said: “The signs that were removed in good condition have been retained to use in other locations, those signs which were damaged or unable to be used again will be recycled.”
In Blaenau Gwent the borough council said it has also tried to reuse signs but has had to dispose of some.
It told Mr Hall: “Signs that were removed which were in a reasonable condition were returned to our stores where they will be cleaned and kept for future use.
“Signs that we were able to repurpose as part of the 20mph default works were used in alternative locations, for example 20mph repeaters signs from Strand Annealing were repurposed in Trefil.
“Signs that we were unable to be repurpose or in a poor condition were disposed of.”
Blaenau Gwent wasn’t asked to clarify how many signs it has disposed of.
PICTURE CAPTION: Picture shows a small, 20mph repeater sign on High Street, Chepstow the type of which have had to be removed since 20mph became the default speed limit.