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Plans to remove white lines on UK roads heavily criticised

According to The Times, pilot schemes could be carried out in north Norfolk, following trials in London, Wiltshire and Derby.

Meanwhile a trial on centre line removal by Transport for London found a substantial reduction in vehicle speeds.

Commenting, oad Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “We find it extraordinary that Transport for London is able to state that its failure to have white lines reinstated on three major ‘A’ roads has reduced vehicle speeds by 13% but cannot quantify the impact on accident rates.

“Simply slowing vehicles down, which is what some campaigners are calling for, is a bizarre way for a roads authority to behave unless it can demonstrate casualty reductions which could not be achieved by other means.

“There is a growing stance in the haulage industry that roads capacity is being reduced by an endless flow of local measures for no good reason. The roads minister, Andrew Jones needs to take a stronger line on what is required of local authorities before these experiments get totally out of hand.”

RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes added: “There may be some areas where there's a benefit but a lot where the disadvantages outweigh any potential benefits. And their removal would also likely lead to an increased ‘fear factor’ of driving and accidents for the majority of motorists who take confidence from clear road markings.

“It feels instinctive that white line road markings an essential feature keeping our roads safe and lanes clearly defined in both daylight and the hours of darkness. And we must not forget the development of cat’s eyes in the 1930s has been universally heralded as one of the greatest road safety improvements of all time used all over the world. The reflective glass spheres are a familiar and valuable sight for drivers reassuring them that they are travelling safely in their own lane in the hours of darkness.”

However, LeasePlan welcomed the move.


Lesley Slater, business development director, said: “Whether to remove white lines from roads or not has been part of a global conversation that has been growing since the turn of the century and it’s good to see this particular topic highlighted once again. The remodelling of Exhibition Road experiment provides evidence to suggest that removing not only central white line markings, but other traditional safeguards – from road signs to traffic lights and even pavements – actually reduces the accident rate and improves traffic flow. When removed, drivers police their own traffic flow more effectively and are more considerate.


“The old approach to traffic engineering assumed that wide routes and frequent instructions was the best model – however, these studies demonstrate the need to review this thinking – and we would welcome any changes that ensure the roads are a safer place for all its users.”


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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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