Road signs & road markings

Report a broken road sign or street plate

Report a damaged road sign or street plate

Providing the sign is on a road that is maintained by Northumberland County Council, then we will arrange to repair any damage we are made aware of.

Please note that Northumberland County Council are not responsible for the A1, the A69 or the A19.

5Report a damaged road sign or street plate

Road Signs

The Highway Code gives examples of the most common signs in normal use. Signs fall into certain groups:

  • Regulatory signs - signs with red circles.
  • Warning signs - mostly triangular.
  • Direction signs - mostly rectangular. Destinations and map type.
  • Information signs - mostly rectangular.

All signs on the highway must be authorised by the County Council. Special signs are allowed with prior approval of the Department for Transport, or if they are experimental and under trial.

Tourist signs

Tourism signing provides an important opportunity for both tourism businesses and local economies and will be implemented positively and constructively.

There primary purpose is to safely guide those wishing to visit a tourist destination along the most appropriate route for the latter stages of their journey, or to indicate facilities that a tourist would not reasonably expect to find in that location.

How to apply for a new tourist sign

Applying on a minor (B) road

If you would like to make an application for Tourism Signs the Northumberland County Council Policy document and application form can be downloaded.  In the event of any signs being agreed all costs related to the design and implementation of the signs must be met by the applicant.

Applying on a major (A) road

Should any of the tourist signs being requested be on Trunk Road (A1, A19, A69) then applications must be assessed by The Highways Agency.  The Highways Agency Policy document and application form can be downloaded. (The application form should be returned to Northumberland County Council who will forward it to The Highways Agency.)

Temporary traffic signs for special events

Temporary traffic signs may be erected for a limited period to guide traffic going to special events, such as major sporting events, shows or other public gatherings that are expected to attract large volumes of traffic. Temporary signs are intended to assist road safety and reduce congestion by giving clear directions to road users seeking the best route to an event.  However it should be recognised by event organisers that these Temporary Traffic signs are not opportunity to advertise their events.

Signs are not permitted within the highway without the express permission of the Highway Authority.

Applications for temporary signs to be submitted four weeks prior to the event.  The proposals are to include information about the organiser, the nature of the event, the expected number of visitors and provision for car parking.

Each application will be assessed on an individual basis as there is no one standard event.  The number of permitted signs for each application will be restricted to an absolute minimum.

Temporary signs are not permitted for venues that are already signed by brown tourism signs.

Temporary signs are to be displayed for the duration of the event only (maximum period of six months).

Signs should not normally be erected more than 48 hours before an event or retained more than 48 hours after it has ended.

Dates and times should not be included on the signs since the signs are not intended to advertise an event, but are for people who know about it and need guidance to the site.

The number of words on a sign should be kept to an absolute minimum. The longer the message, the longer drivers take to read it and the longer their attention is diverted from the road.

On granting permission of a signing schedule the applicant is responsible for making good any damage to street furniture and statutory Undertakers’ equipment resulting from the erection of the signs and must have adequate public liability insurance cover.  The applicant is required to indemnify the Highway Authority against any claim arising out of an accident alleged to have been caused by the inadequacy of a temporary sign, whether in siting, visibility, insecure mounting or other cause.

How to apply for Temporary Traffic Signs

If you would like to make an application for Temporary Traffic Signs for Special Events the Department for Transport Traffic Advisory Leaflet 04/11 gives advice on the circumstances in which these signs may be used, their design, construction and mounting.

The completed form should be returned to Northumberland County Council

Emailed to 

Postal address: Sustainable Transport, Project Planning Team, Directorate of Local Services, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF)

Yellow lines

Yellow lines are provided where there is a need to restrict parking to help alleviate traffic flow and to prevent obstructions on the highway.

There are two main types used:

  • Double lines usually to mark lengths of road where there is no waiting at any time. However there are exceptions to this and supplementary plates fixed to lighting columns or posts will tell you what the actual restriction is.
  • Single lines usually indicate a shorter period of restriction such as daytime. Again supplementary plates will show the actual times.

Loading restrictions are shown by yellow markings on the kerb and on the supplementary plates.

The Highway Code gives examples of the lines in normal use and their associated rules.

All lines on the highway must be authorised by the County Council. Special lines are allowed with prior approval of the Department for Transport, or if they are experimental and under trial.

White lines on the road are provided to help road users by giving different types of information on lane use and directions.

Road markings are as important as signs. Longitudinal markings inform and warn road users of approaching situations that will require them to take some form of action (i.e. solid white line - do not cross, or lane line - turn right).

Transverse lines also give instruction (i.e. stop or give way).