From the Press Association:
"The Government is urging councils to cut street clutter by getting rid of unnecessary signs, railings and advertising hoardings. Ministers are worried the character of urban spaces is being damaged.
"Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond have written to council leaders calling on them to reduce the number of signs and other "street clutter".
"The Government believes that in some cases traffic signs and railings are installed by councils in the mistaken belief that they are legally required. However, although some signs are required by law, Government advice is that for signs to be most effective they should be kept to a minimum."
Eric Pickles is quoted as saying:
"Our streets are losing their English character. We are being overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards, patchwork paving and railed off roads – wasting taxpayers' money that could be better spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down. We need to 'cut the clutter'.
"Too many overly-cautious town hall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law. Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, freer authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain."
Philip Hammond adds:
"We all know that some signs are necessary to make our roads safe and help traffic flow freely. But unnecessary street furniture is a waste of taxpayers' money and leaves our streets looking more like scrap yards than public spaces. We have written to councils to remind them that it need not be this way. We don't need all this clutter confusing motorists, obstructing pedestrians and hindering those with disabilities who are trying to navigate our streets."