Road signs & road markings

Here you will find information on road signs, tourism signage, temporary traffic signs for special events, and road markings, including white and yellow lines.

Road signs are designed to give information to drivers on the road.

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

  • regulatory signs 
  • warning signs 
  • direction signs 
  • information signs 

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

Tourism signing provides an important opportunity for both tourism businesses and local economies. Their primary purpose is to guide those wishing to visit a tourist destination along the most appropriate route for the later stages of their journey, or to show facilities a tourist would not usually expect to find in that area.

The objective of brown & white signs is to meet the local and strategic needs of visitors and road users in general. Their implementation will be consistent with safe and efficient traffic management and with minimal impact on both the built and rural environment. 
Document explaining the application process  
 Check that you are eligiable to apply for a 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 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 a trunk road (A1, A19, A69), then applications must be assessed by Highways England. 

Here you will find information on temporary signs, how to apply for them and rules surrounding their use.

Temporary traffic signs may be erected for a limited time to guide traffic going to special events 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. 


Event organisers should recognise these temporary traffic signs are not an opportunity to advertise their events. Signs are not permitted next to the highway without the permission of the highway authority. 
Applications for temporary signs are to be submitted four weeks prior to the event. The proposals should include information about: 

  • the organiser 
  • the nature of the event 
  • the expected number of visitors 
  • provision for car parking 

Each application will be assessed on an individual basis. 

  • The number of permitted signs for each application will be restricted to an absolute minimum. 
  • Temporary signs are not permitted for venues already signed by brown tourism signs. 
  • Temporary signs are to be displayed for the duration of the event only, up to a maximum 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. 
  • The number of words on a sign should be kept to an absolute minimum. 

On granting permission of a signing schedule, the applicant is responsible for repairing 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 cover the highway authority against any claim arising out of an accident alleged to have been caused by the inadequacy of a temporary sign. 

If you would like to make an application for temporary traffic signs, the Department for Transport traffic advisory leaflet 04/11 gives advice on when these signs may be used, their design, construction and mounting. 


The completed form should be returned to Northumberland County Council. 
Sustainable Transport 
Project Planning Team 
Directorate of Local Services 
Northumberland County Council 
County Hall 
NE61 2EF 

This section provides information on other markings you’ll see on the road.

Yellow lines are provided where there is a need to restrict parking to help ease traffic flow and prevent obstructions on the highway. 
There are two main types used: 

  • Double lines usually mark lengths of road where there is no waiting at any time. There are exceptions to this, and extra plates fixed to lighting columns or posts will tell you what the restrictions are. 

  • Single lines usually indicate a shorter period of restriction. Additional plates will show the actual times. 

Loading restrictions are shown by yellow markings on the kerb and on any added 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 approval from 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. Horizontal markings inform and warn road users of approaching situations that will require them to take action (i.e. solid white line - do not cross, or lane line - turn right). 
Diagonal lines also give instruction (i.e. stop or give way).