Dear Department for Transport,
I am completing research into how Local Authorities seem to implement signage in ways which seem to be non-compliant to the DfT guidelines.

I would appreciate clarification of three signage issues which cause me concern reference DfT document

ISSUE ONE.Sign 878 is often used to advise motorists in advance of Red light cameras at particularly dangerous intersections.Is it a legal or optional requirement to have a sign 878 ahead of a red light camera, and if so what is the recommended distance or range? Obviously the absence of a sign would be detrimental to road safety but would the camera still be enforceable to raise revenue?

ISSUE TWO.There is still confusion about the use of sign 880 (camera / 30 on blue background) in advance of static speed cameras, some documents state only one sign 880 is allowed in advance yet others state two are allowed.Please confirm if two are allowed, and as nearside signs may be obscured by nearside vehicles on dual carriageways please advise if one sign is allowed to be placed on the offside to provide both lanes with fair warning.

ISSUE THREE.In a Daily Mail website article, , there is a photograph displayed showing a sign in use by Suffolk police on the A14.The sign appears to be a modification of a sign 880 with a speed of 50 shown on a blue background within a border.
I was under the impression that the blue background was reserved for 30mph, with yellow for clarity at higher speeds, so I would appreciate knowing if this sign is actually legal and, if so,I would like to know the type reference number for the sign and if it has received appropriate authorisation. Additionally, the sign relates to enforcement by means of Specs cameras and I would like to know if there should additionally be a sign to advise of the means of enforcement.

There is now a public perception that the police are incompetent and dedicated to entrapment so clarification of these issues would be appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Dennis Fallon

Ivan Pocock, Department for Transport

Dear Mr Fallon,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request for information which has been allocated the above reference number. A response will be issued to you in due course.


Ivan Pocock
Department for Transport
Information Rights Unit
D/04, Ashdown House
Sedlescombe Road North
St Leonards on Sea
East Sussex
TN37 7GA

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Ian Edwards, Department for Transport

Mr Fallon

Thank you for your email of 17 February requesting information on the legality of traffic signs. I am replying as I have responsibility for speed limit policy issues.

As I understand it, you are in essence seeking clarification of the requirements for placing traffic signs as opposed to a request to see information held by this Department. As such I am not treating it as an FOI request.

The sign to diagram 878 TSRGD are placed in areas which traffic cameras are used to enforce traffic light signal regulations. The law states that sign 878 "may be placed only in an area or along a route where enforcement cameras are from time to time in use"

There are no set distances where the sign must be placed and the presence or otherwise of a camera sign will not effect prosecutions. Ultimately if the camera is a red light camera, it will be placed adjacent to the red traffic light. The red traffic signal will of course clearly indicate that a driver is required to stop.

The sign to diagram 880 is a way of reminding drivers of the presence of safety cameras and the speed limit, similar to a combination of both signs which may be used on other speed limits. The blue background distinguishes the sign as an informatory sign and therefore circumvents the street light 30mph repeater sign rule. It is a simple way to assist drivers in making an informed decision on an appropriate choice of speed.

TSRGD was amended in 2008 to allow for no more than two 880 signs may be used on any approach to a safety camera. There are no regulations which specify which side of the road an 880 sign may be placed, so an 880 sign can be placed on either side of the carriageway.

There are no permitted variants to sign 880, therefore an 880 sign displaying a 50mph speed limit instead of a 30mph would not conform to TSRGD. The correct way to co-locate a 50mph sign and an 879 sign is to either simply place them one on top of the other (ideally the speed limit sign on top) on a lamp post or similar structure, or combine them on either a yellow or grey backing board.

Again, only a court may determine the legality or otherwise of a sign. However it is difficult to understand how a sign displaying a speed limit and sign displaying a camera sign would be confusing to the driver, irrespective of the colour of the backing board.

There are specific signs relating to Specs cameras, which, because they are not yet contained within TSRGD are required to receive special authorisation before they can be used. The sign varies sign 878 and states "Average camera check".

I hope this is helpful.

Ian Edwards

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Dear Mr Edwards,
Thank you for your prompt reply.

I have ongoing concerns about the unacceptable misuse of signage, based on local experience,but as this now seems to be a Highways Agency issue I have sent a fresh request which is directed towards them.

Thank you for your help in this request.

Yours sincerely,

dennis fallon

Mike Kelley left an annotation ()

Many thanks Dennis for the information

RE: 800 signs.
However, I am still somewhat disappointed so many people are confused who shouldn't be

West Yorkshire Police are then disseminating outdated information...
and issue a 'supporting document'

to the public

For the record Plymouth City Council have 3 x 800 signs within 1Km when approaching a speed camera on Exeter St.

I am documenting all on

Mike Kelley

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