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Temporary Signs to Special Events

We permit temporary traffic signs to events or other attractions where substantial flows of non-local traffic are likely to be generated or where the presence of signs will assist traffic movements and reduce the potential for accidents.


Signs will be approved for special events if substantial vehicular flows are likely to be generated, causing congestion or a road safety hazard. Substantial flow is considered to be in excess of 400 vehicles per day attending the event. The Local Transportation Service may consider a lesser flow in exceptional circumstances.

Event organisers should clearly demonstrate that their car parking provision would accommodate the expected visitor numbers. Parking should be on site and closely associated with the venue to reduce pedestrian movements. On street parking may be taken into account if it is not to the detriment of the local community.

Where a venue is being used for more than one event at the same time, approach signing shall identify the venue only. If separate access points are used, these can be signed.

If a venue is used for similar events on a regular basis (more than six times a year), temporary signing is not required unless problems of road safety or traffic movement are anticipated.

If a venue is used for regular events of a differing nature (more than 12 times a year), consideration should be given to the provision of permanent signing. In these circumstances temporary signs will not be authorised unless necessary to identify alternative access and parking arrangements.

Events such as car boot sales and jumble sales will not be signed, as these are local, usually frequent and unlikely to attract a significant number of distant visitors who would be unfamiliar with the location.

For events that have an invited clientele or are pre-purchase ticket access only, such as weddings and concerts, the organiser will be expected to circulate directions to the venue with the invitation or tickets and not apply for temporary signs.

Signing for new attractions such as a superstore or shopping centre is not required. Advertising should be sufficient to identify the location, access and car parks. If signing would alleviate congestion or address road safety, concerns, a request may be considered for a maximum period of three months.

In all other circumstances temporary signs will be permitted in the agreed locations within the 48hrs prior to the start of the event and removed within the 48hrs following its completion. Signing for events lasting longer than two weeks will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Signing is to help drivers not advertise. Organisers are expected to provide evidence that the event has or will be advertised in the local and/or national press.

For events taking place at a venue on a major road, advance signs will be confined to adjacent road junctions where a driver decision may be critical. Elsewhere signing shall be kept to an absolute minimum and restricted to the immediate vicinity of the event providing directions from the nearest principal road. The route need not be from a classified road nor be the shortest route. Signing will not normally extend outside a permanently signed village or event location. Where events take place outside of a village or main location it may be necessary to sign the venue from the village centre.

For certain events it may be best to sign a route for traffic leaving a venue so conflicting movements or congestion can be avoided.

Organisers are encouraged to use the services provided by the motoring organisations or approved contractors wherever possible to ensure compliance with regulations and conditions. Responsible organisers may be given approval to install their own temporary signing but they must show evidence of public liability insurance that indemnifies Surrey County Council to the value of £5 million and to meet all necessary conditions.

Signing installed in contravention of this policy or applied conditions or without authority will be removed by the County Council and all costs incurred charged to the organisers.

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Temporary direction signs should conform to the current edition of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD). They may be black on white, black on yellow or white on blue.

Signs will use standard wording and not advertise. Where it is not possible to sign an event without a sponsor or organiser's name, an abbreviation or initial letters agreed with the organiser can be used. These could be derived from the name of the event and/or sponsor providing they do not constitute a recognisable trade name or mark.

Where signing the venue is not appropriate, the legend should conform to a standard style and wording. The list shown at the annex is not exhaustive but gives an indication for suitable wording.

The size of sign is dictated by the size of the lettering required to enable the legend to be read from vehicles travelling at the prevailing speed. In general this should be taken as the speed limit + 5mph. In exceptional circumstances the County Council may request a different size having local knowledge of the site. The table at the annex provides recommended 'x-heights' with siting and visibility distances.

The signs must be located in accordance with the principles set out in the current Department for Transport (DfT) Traffic Signs Manual, securely attached to suitable posts or existing sign posts, etc. subject to the agreement of the County Council. Street lighting columns are not to be used without the express permission of the County Council.

Temporary signs must not obscure any part of other signs fixed to the same post. Overall appearance must be tidy. Where special posts are used they must not project above the top of the sign. The fixings must attach the sign securely to its support and must not damage the protective coating on the post or lighting column when appropriate. Any damage that does occur will be repaired at the organisers' expense.

Signs should never be attached to posts that already support any of the following: Give Way, Stop, No Entry, Speed Restriction (except repeaters).

The use of traffic signals and illuminated bollards is forbidden. Other posts, which support regulatory signs, should be avoided where there is a risk of confusing or distracting the driver.

The outer edge of the sign should be set back at least 450mm from the carriageway, and at least 600mm where there is a cross fall. On high-speed dual carriageway roads the clearance should be at least 1200mm, and where there is a hardened verge, the nearest edge of the sign should be no less than 600mm behind the hardening edge.

Where signs are mounted above or project over the footway or areas readily accessible to pedestrians, the lower edge of the sign should not be less than 2.15m from the ground (2.4m on a cycleway). Where a sign is mounted above a verge, the mounting height should be between 900mm and 1500mm above the highest point of the carriageway, but special care must be taken not to obstruct sight lines for vehicles emerging from a side road. The safety of horse riders using the verge must also be considered.

To prevent reflection, signs should be angled to face slightly away from the beam direction of headlights of approaching vehicles within a distance of 200m. This is equally important whether or not the sign in question is to be read at night. An angle of 95 degrees between the plane of the sign and the direction of travel will be adequate.

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When making an application for temporary traffic signs, the procedure outlined below shall be followed:

  • A formal application on the standard form must be submitted at least six weeks before the event. Those received within one month may be refused due to insufficient time to consider and process. The applicant shall complete all questions on the form and provide evidence where required. The application form is shown in the annex.
  • The application should be submitted to the Local Transportation Service Office that administers the area containing the venue. They will consult adjoining Surrey Offices and the Police where necessary. If the venue is outside the County, the Organiser should still submit an application to the appropriate LTS office if the signing extends into their area.
  • On receipt of the completed form the County Council will consider the need and justification for temporary traffic signs. The application should include details of the proposed sign schedule. Incomplete applications or those raising queries will be delayed and may result in refusal due to insufficient time.
  • Any approval, if given, in connection with the application relates to the provision of temporary signs only. It does not infer approval of any highway access arrangements. These are the liability of the organiser.
  • Where available, evidence of either similar events at the same venue or the event at other venues should be provided in relation to attendance figures and numbers of vehicles attending during a day. Also any previous problems with regard to access or road safety should also be detailed. If attendance numbers differ significantly over the period of the event then this difference should be clearly indicated.
  • Details regarding the venue may not be available to the event organiser, in this instance the name and address of the contact person at the venue should be given.
  • Where on site parking is not free, details should be given of the effect this may have on numbers using on street spaces and stating why a charge is being made for parking.

The only exemptions to this section relate to Police signs. Under Sect.67 of the Road Traffic Act 1984, the Police have powers to place signs on the highway for up to 7 days. District Councils have similar powers under Sect.21 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

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