Focus on the use of “brown” road signage

2 June 2014

VisitEngland has published details of a new consultation into traffic sign regulations by the Department of Transport (DfT), which includes a focus on the use of “brown” road signage, commonly used to denote places of local interest and tourist attractions. A key summary is provided below although we would encourage you to look at the consultation document (sections 7.1 – 7.8):

"Definitions of 'tourist destination' for brown tourist signing

7.5 Brown signs for tourist destinations are prescribed in TSRGD, but the definition of what constitutes a 'tourist destination' is not clear.

7.6 In Scotland and Wales, Visit Scotland and the Wales Tourist Board must recognise individual tourist attractions and facilities as qualifying for a brown sign under TSRGD. However, Visit England does not carry out a similar function for tourist attractions in England. This has brought pressure from private enterprises, such as retail parks, on traffic authorities in England to represent their business as tourist destinations on traffic signs. This can lead to unnecessary sign clutter.

7.7 To help with this, we propose to include a new definition of a 'tourist destination' in TSRGD, to separate those genuine tourist destinations – i.e. those whose primary function is other than retail – from businesses with a purely commercial interest.

7.8 This will need the help of Visit England in agreeing to recognise genuine tourist functions in this way. We have been in discussion with them, and they have agreed to consult with the tourist industry in parallel to this consultation.

VisitEngland  state that, over the past two years, they have been working with industry stakeholders to update brown sign guidelines following concerns that they were being “watered down” in some areas to include non-tourist facilities. The work includes the development of a standard definition of a tourist attraction and VisitEngland plan to work with destination organisations to help determine signage priorities for genuine local attractions. They are also working with an inter-governmental working group to develop a revolutionary new approach to brown signage, currently being piloted in Plymouth, which feature full colour photos of local attractions.

The consultation seeks to asks whether you support the proposal to include new definition of tourist destination for England within the new transport policy. If you would like to respond directly, views are invited for submission prior to 12th June 2014 and full details of how to respond online can be found via the following link to the consultation document.

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