Agenda item

Vehicle Activated Signs Policy - Briefing Note


Jon Rollinson (Principal Strategy & Policy Officer) summarised that vehicle activated signs (VAS) policy will go to Cabinet in July 2022 and was designed to present a robust set of criteria which will allow WCC to control the installation of VAS in future. It would also help to identify and schedule the removal of those VAS which have had no road safety benefit and present a financial and maintenance burden. VAS are important for local communities so the new policy would provide a mechanism to allow these communities to fund the retention or replacement of existing VAS which would otherwise be removed.  


In response to Councillor Fradgley, Jon Rollinson stated that communities could retain VAS through Parish/Town Councils, local community groups or delegated budgets.  


Councillor Chilvers expressed concerns with the criteria to keep the VAS being restrictive, especially if trying to promote active travel. Jon Rollinson said that VAS would remain if there were five personal injury collisions over a three-year period. The injury collision criterion used a weighted scoring system rather than just individual collisions and would reflect the consideration of VASfor use at sites with a lower collision history than sites that could qualify for the casualty reduction scheme work. This criterion was there to address this middle ground in terms of road safety concerns.  


Councillor Sinclair noted that the note stated that 40% of VAS in Warwickshire were non-operational and ones that did not meet the criteria would be removed too. In response to Councillor Sinclair, Jon Rollinson said the budget was £10,000 annually for 400 VAS cross-county but this had now increased to £80,000. The only signs that would be removed were ones that had not shown a road safety benefit in terms of reducing personal injury collisions but were a financial or maintenance burden on the Council. Signs that were beneficial but broken would be fixed and remain.  

Scott Tompkins added that Warwickshire had a lot of signs for its area and the purpose of the maintenance fund is to deal with the maintenance of the ones that are coming at the end of their life and look at reducing the number of VAS not putting more out.  


In response to Councillor Andy Crump (Portfolio Holder – Fire & Rescue and Community Safety), Jon Rollinson stated that the current policy as proposed did not allow for parish/town councils or community groups to choose to install a VAS in their area, the new policy would state that they could decide whether to retain  a VAS in their area which was otherwise scheduled for removal. Entirely new VAS installations would be where there was a demonstrable road safety risk as defined in the new policy.  


Councillor Humphreys said that at a recent road safety event he attended, WCC said they planned to reduce KSIs (killed or seriously injured) by 50% but removing VAS would make them worse. He said he could not support the proposals because Council tax had already been spent on the existing signs, they were maintainable, and his parish councils were requesting more VAS.  

Councillor Baxter-Payne stated that keeping and maintaining the VAS would be better than a major engineering project in every area where a VAS has been removed. 


Councillor Sinclair said that because the VASwere not going to meet the new threshold, this did not mean that they were not useful.  


Councillor Fradgley noted that she had requested a VAS for a straight piece of road and queried whether the town/parish councils had been consulted with for this policy as they would need to financially support the sign if they bought it. 


Jon Rollinson said that DfT research showed that VAS reduced traffic collisions between 25-35%, but under the proposed policy signs would only be removed if they have not reduced any collisions.  

David Ayton-Hill added that when VAS were first introduced there was a loose policy around what constituted the requirements for VAS which is why there were so many implemented and may not have had a positive impact. The popularity of VAS led to these policies. 

Scott Tompkins stated that the whole kit for the VAS would need replacing when it broke.  


The Chair concurred with the concerns raised by the committee and added that only some areas would be able to buy their own VAS which could cause a disparity. He agreed that there should be a policy for these signs, but the VAS made residents feel safer.  


Councillor Sinclair raised that the paper said that 40% of 400 signs (160 signs overall) which were operational at the time of the meeting would be decommissioned which was more than Gloucestershire had altogether. He said he found this unacceptable, and the signs benefits should also be measured by prevention and not just collisions.  

David Ayton-Hill suggested that this wording needed to be amended as 40% of these signs were coming to the end of their life span and would not necessarily be removed.  


Councillor Sinclair formally proposed that: 

That Communities OSC ask Cabinet to amend the vehicle activated sign policy to apply for new signs going forward and not apply retrospectively to existing signs. The budget allocated by Council to the maintenance of signs is used appropriately. 


This was seconded by Councillor Andy Wright. 


The committee voted unanimously for this. 



That Communities OSC ask Cabinet to amend the vehicle activated sign policy to apply for new signs going forward and not apply retrospectively to existing signs.


The budget allocated by Council to the maintenance of signs is used appropriately.

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