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Clearing Clutter

CPRE Hampshire has been campaigning since 2004 to reduce the amount of signage and other clutter on our rural roads. From our survey of parish councils we know that there is overwhelming support for reducing clutter. Clutter reduction has the support of many organisations, such as English Heritage, the Countryside Agency, the RAC, and the South Downs Joint Committee.

Clutter Hotspots

Tell us about a stretch of road near you which you think has more or larger signs than are necessary.

The Issues

  • Large road signs, especially in our pretty villages, are visually intrusive
  • 'Busy' road signs with large amounts of information can distract drivers' attention
  • There are often simply too many; one of our early audits showed 45 signs pre mile on some of our rural roads
  • Related to clutter are the surface markings on roads through villages; if they do not change as a village is approached, motorists may not be alert to other road users such as pedestrians

Our Position

We want to reduce accidents, but without affecting landscape quality more than absolutely necessary. Some ways of doing this are:

  • Reducing the sheer number of different signs along stretches of road
  • Using designs of sign that are more sympathetic to their natural surroundings
  • Making more use of the concept of 'shared space', whereas instead of obvious segregation between motorists and pedestrians, road layout and changes in surface (e.g. colour) alerts motorists to the potential presence of other users

What We Are Doing

A survey in 2004 highlighted the need to Keep Our Rural Roads Rural. Since 2004 we have achieved quite a bit and have further plans:

  • Carried out an initial survey of Parish Councils about signage and clutter in their areas
  • Developed a set of 'Principles of Signage in Rural Areas' that we have used for discussions with Hampshire County Council and local councils
  • Worked closely with Hampshire County Council to raise awareness by their staff and to encourage clutter reduction as an integral part of future road improvement plans
  • Taken an active role in the A32 West Meon / Wickham pilot project
  • Continue to provide inputs to Hampshire County Council's Environment Department and Hampshire's Local Transport Plan

Case Study

The first pilot project was reducing road signage on the A32 between West Meon and Wickham. Part of the project also introduced 'shared space' in West Meon, changing the road surface so that drivers are made more aware of other users, especially pedestrians.

See the article Clearing The Clutter

Reducing Clutter Near You

get involved

Our campaign has prompted Liss, Odiham, and other villages to undertake a local clutter survey, and to find many unnecessary signs.

Has your village done a clutter survey yet?

If you would like to help us to reduce roadside 'clutter' in your area, we would welcome your help in carrying out a quick survey, that simply involves counting the kinds and number of signs on a particular stretch of road. We could then pass this information on to Hampshire County Council for action.

Contact our Transport Group for further details


This page last updated 4th February 2011.

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