Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Friday, 31 July 2009 14:04 UK

Call to drive out 'road clutter'

Road signs in Llanerfyl, Powys
Roadside 'clutter' on the approaches to Llanerfyl, near Welshpool

Rural areas of Wales are cluttered with road signs and speed cameras, campaigners have claimed.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said signs should not be banned, but instead placed with sensitivity and tact.

Based in Powys, the group says it wants to "choke ugliness in the countryside".

The Welsh Assembly Government said signs were put up only where there was a "clear need" to give drivers safety and information.

The CPRW has called for a return to a bygone era when "primroses lined the earth banks in late spring, bluebells in early summer and a galaxy of smells which lifted your spirits".

Its director, Peter Ogden, said: "Oh, how things have changed. Gone are the lengthsmen with their sickle and grindstones, the yellow and black patrol boxes and the manned level crossing.

The same signs a few metres apart in Carmarthenshire
The diversity which once characterised all of Wales is fast disappearing and is being replaced by a blandness and the increasing uniformity of a catalogue countryside
Peter Ogden, Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

"And what do we have increasingly today, local rat runs, urban paraphernalia and convenience highway maintenance.

"The diversity which once characterised all of Wales is fast disappearing and is being replaced by a blandness and the increasing uniformity of a catalogue countryside.

"For some unknown reason, as cars are made to go faster and speed kills more people, we still widen, straighten and build bigger roads to textbook standards.

"When they are improved, what do we do to their widened mown verges and flailed hedges - plaster them with signs, speed cameras and their surfaces with speed reduction measures.

"Poorly designed and over engineered, our new breed of roads are eroding the character of the landscape of Wales."

Mr Ogden said the CPRW felt a need to "safeguard the beauty of the landscapes" and had launched its Clutter in the Countryside Challenge to "choke ugliness in the countryside".

He added: "The battle against clutter is not however a battle for prohibition, but for sensitivity and tact."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said that on its trunk road network "signs are only erected where there is a clear need to ensure the safety of drivers and communities or to provide information to drivers".

He added: "We are committed to reducing accidents on Wales' trunk road network not only through signage but also through engineering, enforcement, education and media campaigns."



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SEE ALSO
Roadside clutter 'is increasing'
25 Apr 07 |  Oxfordshire
Council backs road clutter scheme
16 May 05 |  Tyne
Bid to ban clutter from streets
14 Oct 04 |  London

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