Clear road signs and markings help us to use the roads
correctly. They give directions, help to keep traffic moving and
keep our roads safe.
In Kent, we have approximately 140,000 signs.
Kent is a beautiful place; we try to balance road safety needs
with a desire to reduce street clutter wherever we place road signs
We aim to:
- have all the signs needed on A and B roads
- provide at least the minimum standards of signs on minor
- reassess signing in areas where accidents keep happening, or
there is a local danger
- consider the environment when we think about where to place
signs, especially on minor roads in rural areas
- avoid using signs whenever possible in conservation areas and
other special areas.
Types of road signs
- Warning signs - draw the driver's attention to
possible hazards on the road ahead. This could be where they need
to slow down or to highlight something such as a low bridge or a
- Regulatory signs - let drivers know what
traffic restrictions there are and help to enforce these
restrictions, such as speed-limit signs
- Directions signs - show how to get to a place.
We decide which place names are put on signs, apart from those on
trunk roads and motorways which are dealt with by the Highways
- Other information - signs for local
facilities, such as recycling sites.
Maintaining road signs
We have a general maintenance plan that covers things such as
cleaning, checking electrical safety and checking signs are still
reflective. We go out at night to check that signs are lit up.
We repair damage or faults within time limits. For example, we
repair unsafe electrical signs within 2 hours and remove
obstructions, such as overgrown bushes, when we notice the
The Highways Agency
is responsible for signs on trunk roads and motorways. District
councils are responsible for some signs, for example, road name
signs, bylaw notices and Neighbourhood Watch notices.
Road sign standards
Standards are applied nationally for consistency, but can be
adapted to the needs of different places. In Kent, standards are
different for built-up areas, such as towns, compared with rural
areas, and for minor roads compared with major roads.
Standards cover things such as:
- when a sign is needed
- the size of the sign
- how the sign is positioned.
Generally, the size and position of signs are based on the speed
of the traffic, the higher the speed, the larger the sign.
Temporary and tourist signs
We can provide temporary signs for events if they:
- are open to the public
- are going to attract a lot of people
- will cause traffic problems.
These signs are provided by the AA, RAC or other similar
companies. They have to apply to us before they can put them
Tourist attractions are identified by a brown and white sign.
Types of attractions suitable for signs include hotels, gardens and
It is advisable to liaise first with
Visit Kent to see if the attractions meets the qualifying
criteria for a sign; a non-refundable admistration fee is
There are qualifying criteria and standards for both these types
of sign. To apply for an event or tourist sign, visit the
applications and licences section.