Thursday, September 27, 2007

Countryside clutter

Still catching up on yesterday. Did a couple of interviews for the BBC about roadsigns, wearing my Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales hat. Used our local village of Berriew as an example of road sign pollution, or 'signusitis' which for some reason our press release called it.

Berriew is a beautiful little black and white village in the heart of Montgomeryshire. As you approach it (from all sides) there are huge garish signs telling you that there are going to be 30mph signs in 150 yds. Hideous and totally pointless. Then we have the 30mph signs themselves - which are fairly new to our village and which we all approve of, although they are unnecessarily garish. But underneath them, there are large bright blue signs telling you that you are entering a police speed check area. Well, of course you are - there are speed restriction signs there. Any fool would know that. These signs serve no function whatsoever. And as soon as you pass one of the 30mph signs, there is a sign 'directing' you to 'the Village Centre, which the Welsh translation reads as Town Centre. Berriew is too small to have a village centre. Its got to be the most superfluous sign ever erected. And all these signs are bilingual. If this carries on Berriew will soon look like Soho.

And the position is even worse in our built up areas. There are so many signs now that no-one bothers to read any of them. One sign you read - 10 signs and you ignore the lot. I've read about some research taking place in England where most of the signs have been removed. It seems that drivers are now concentrating rather more on their driving, instead of trying to make some sense of the myriad of signs, and the accident record is improving. So we can beautify our roads and make them safer at the same time. But will our legislators act. No, they'll just put up a new sign to warn about sign confusion.

7 comments:

johnny foreigner said...

You may wish to have a look at Odourousvindictivus' blog to read the normal Nationalistic whinging about bilingual road signs.

According to them it's a scandal and all signs should be bilingual and not a mention of their detrimental effect on the beauty of little villages.

It's obvious where their priorities lie.

Your parked-up pal.

johnny.

Glyn Davies said...

I'm not with you on this johnny. The problem is that we have far too many signs. Those that we have should be bilingual as standard.

Ordovicius said...

'm not with you on this johnny. The problem is that we have far too many signs. Those that we have should be bilingual as standard.

Quite.

Glyn Davies said...

I also prefer signage without words - like a sign which just says 30 or 40.

Ordovicius said...

I also prefer signage without words - like a sign which just says 30 or 40.

Same here, and I don't even drive.

Anonymous said...

Those who complain about the cost of bilingual sinage should realise that much of the cost goes on unecessary English versions of Welsh names.

Do we really need Aberdare instead of Aberdar, Caerphilly instead of Caerffili, Carmarthen instead of Caerfyrddin? There are hundreds of these. Why exactly are they needed, when other Welsh names are rightly left alone?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - You have a point in that, in principle and in some cases, just the Welsh name would suffice. I think that Aberdar and Caerffili are two good examples. But it may be that the hoo-hah it would cause wouldn't be worth it.