Road signs and markings
Useful advice and information on road signs and markings in Dorset.
Signing and lining in general
Road markings and traffic signs are produced and installed to specific standards which the county council is obliged to follow. Any sign erected and placed within the boundary of the highway without consent of the council will be removed.
We have a policy to only install signing to a limit needed for safety, too many signs clutters the highway.
Guidance in the Reducing Sign Clutter Traffic Advisory Leaflet
"Traffic signs, signals, and road markings are the key method for communicating with the road user and need to be simple and concise so as to be easily understood.
Proper use of signs is vital to their effectiveness in terms of guiding or regulating. Over-provision of signs can have a detrimental impact on the environment and can dilute more important messages if they result in information overload for drivers." Department for Transport - Traffic Advisory Leaflet 2013 Reducing Sign Clutter (opens in a new window)
Provision and maintenance
Dorset Highways: responsible for signs and markings on all other public highways in West, North and East Dorset, Purbeck, Christchurch and Weymouth and Portland
Highways Agency: responsible for signs and markings on the A31 and A35 (west of Bere Regis)
More sign and marking information
Tourism signs (also known as brown signs,) have the purpose of directing drivers to an attraction or facility along the most appropriate route. This will not be undertaken as an advertising exercise.
Cost: £200, to be returned with the application. Additional costs for the staff time, materials, manufacturing and installation will be charged. Dorset County Council reserves the right to reject applications.
What to do:
- Read through our Tourism Sign Policy (pdf, 102kb) (opens in a new window) and Requirements (pdf, 71kb) (opens in a new window) to understand more about the application process and check your business meets our criteria
- Download an application form (word, 393kb) (opens in a new window) and fill in all required information
- Return the completed application, along with the cheque by post
- We will contact you when we begin investigating
Dorset County Council can advise on, investigate, manufacture and install directional signing towards facilities such as schools and doctors surgeries on request. The facility requesting the sign is charged the total cost of staff time, materials, manufacturing and installation.
We will decide on a case-by-case basis as to whether establishments qualify for signing, depending on the service provided and its particular location.
It is the responsibility of the land/property owner to ensure good visibility from their private access onto the public highway. After all reasonable alternative works have been carried out to improve visibility, such as cutting back hedges/vegetation, then a visibility or safety mirror is an option.
Such mirrors are to be placed off the public highway, on private land. Any mirror being used in such a situation is to be provided and installed by the applicant at their own expense, and not by the county council. The mirror is the sole responsibility of the person who has it installed. It is illegal to install a mirror on the highway (and highway verge), as it is considered an unauthorised obstruction.
What to do:
- Contact us, and let us know you intend to install a mirror, and seek advice on the extent of highway land
- If private land is available, and the mirror would be in a location where it would provide adequate visibility, seek permission from the land owner to place it there
- For mirrors above a certain size, planning permission from your District Council may be required
Access protection markings
Access protection markings are single white lines painted on the tarmac in front of driveways and other accesses.
Street name signs
These signs are provided by your district or borough council.
If your enquiry is not answered here, please contact us using our online reporting tool.
Signs on the highway - information for businesses
A range of guidance documents have been drawn up to clarify for businesses and event promoters how Dorset County Council manages signs on the highway (roads and footways).