Agenda item

An Update on the Vehicle Activated Sign Policy


Presented by Jon Rollinson (Lead Commissioner, Strategy and Place) covering the following points.


·       The original policy had been approved and adopted by Cabinet in September 2022.

·       This was intended to provide an evidence-led road safety risk-based assessment that offered a clear, robust set of criteria, which had not existed previously.

·       Target resources, check for redundant signs and organise the removal of those deemed necessary while recognising that the Council should not be removing signs from areas that had an ongoing collision concern. Allow local community groups to provide funding to maintain signs in their areas, if desired.

·       The policy been in place for 18 months. This has been in consultation with other departments within the council and they are content with how it was working. No disadvantage to other areas such as Street Lighting or Safety Engineering on the road network.


Councillor Sinclair disclosed that he was an observer in the meeting and was not a member of the committee and therefore sought approval from the Chair to comment. Councillor Sinclair had been on the Committee when the original policy was passed. He asked for the cost on the Community for taking on an activated sign and wondered if councillors could use their delegated highways budget on the signs. Jon Rollinson replied, stating the exact cost will be different per sign however an assessment of potential costs would be disclosed to any town or parish councils who would be deciding on taking over an activated sign. Regarding delegated budgets, there might be some circumstances where councillors were able to use their budgets for providing maintenance however, delegated budgets usually were for assets only. Jon Rollinson would take the question away and confirm outside of the meeting. Scott Tompkins (Environment, Planning and Transport) stated that the preference was to spend delegated budgets on assets items rather than maintenance however he expressed that he would be willing to have a conversation about this. Councillor Matecki (Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport) added that delegated budget did not include revenue-based items.

The Chair asked for clarification on delegated budgets to be circulated to the committee.


Discussion took place between members about the need for the policy and the need for clarification on delegated budgets.


Councillor Gilbert added that if a councillor used their delegated budget to keep up maintenance of an activated sign, what would happen when that councillor is no longer in position, who then takes on the costs going forward.


The Chair questioned if the maintenance budget set out in the report had been met. Jon Rollinson stated that this was not something that could be answered now but would bring an answer back to the committee.


The Chair mentioned the eighteen requests for new signs highlighted in the report that had been rejected and asked for a picture of why this had been the case. Jon Rollinson replied that these requests did not meet one or more of the criteria set out in the policy.


In response to Councillor Singh, Jon Rollinson advised that the personal injury collision criterion was a score of five or more. He went on to explain that it is not five actual injuries or collisions. Each type of injury and collision had a score allocated to it, and this is what the criteria is based on. He went on to explain that this gave a better outcome rather than basing a decision on per collision and/or injury. Jon Rollinson clarified that the score is made from actual recorded incidents not near misses nor non-injury collisions.


Councillor Sinclair highlighted the advanced criteria and stated that all four had to be met. He raised the concern that the bar had been set too high, adding that this was also outlined when the policy was originally brought to the Committee in 2022. Jon Rollinson advised that the policy would be regularly monitored, analysed and updated based on identified needs, with consultation as necessary.


The Chair added his shared concern and suggested that this policy be reassessed again at a future date to see if criteria was working. He clarified, not the whole report just the criteria section.


Councillor Pemberton agreed with the Chair on an annual update of the policy and commented on his personal experiences working in insurance industry.


In response to the Chair, Councillor Pemberton highlighted the concern of the committee, ensuring that the Council was being appropriate and transparent in its deployment of the policy. As members this information could be used to address concerns raised by residents, that the bar is set artificially high for financial reasons. This update will allow ongoing visibility and continued tweaks to the policy should they be identified.


Mark Ryder (Executive Director of Communities) suggested that this be addressed in the Chair and Spokes meeting as to what detail would be requested in the update and added to the forward plan.



That Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee acknowledges the update on the vehicle activated sign policy and considers whether it is fulfilling its aim to take an evidence-based approach to vehicle activated sign management, allowing a more effective targeting of highways resources while continuing to support road safety. With an update to the Committee in twelve months’ time.


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