Main changes from 1998 Policy


Main changes from 1998 Policy

The following table indicates the main changes from the 1998 Trunk Road and Motorway Tourist Signposting Policy along with a short statement of reasons for the proposed change.

Old Policy Ref

New Policy Ref



Chapter 11

1.7, Chapter 15, Annex A, Annex B

Concept of ‘Home Traffic Authority’ introduced and application process simplified.
Clarification of design, manufacture and installation requirements.

A major criticism of the existing policy was that the application procedure was complex with operators having to apply separately to each local authority and trunk road operator for signs. The aim is to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ whereby the application is co-ordinated by the ‘Home Traffic Authority’. This represents good management and customer service.



Definition of Tourist Destination in line with TSRGD 2002.

To be consistent with legislation.

Circular 3/1992 paragraph 3.2.1


Tourist signs to retail establishments now permitted on trunk roads and motorways but only in certain circumstances.

In recognition of the fact that certain retail establishments are in existence mainly to serve the tourist trade, it is now proposed to permit tourist signing from motorways as well as trunk roads. However, tourist signing will only be permitted where the establishment is an accredited ‘Tourist Shop’.



Park and ride services

With a likely increase in the numbers of park and ride services in Scottish towns and cities, it is proposed that careful consideration be given to signing visitors to these services rather than individual tourist attractions.

Circular 3/1992 paragraph 3.2.3

Chapter 5

Visitor number criteria (motorways only)
Relaxations for historical or cultural attractions of national importance.
Seasonality measure (10,000 visitors in the peak month)
Projected visitor numbers allowed.
Relaxations for signing multiple destinations within a town, city or geographical area.

The existing visitor number criterion was criticised for being too prescriptive. The proposed policy seeks to achieve a balance between the needs of tourists, tourism operators and the overriding safety and environmental factors associated with signing on motorways. It is not envisaged that it will significantly increase the number of tourist signs on motorways as the high costs of providing such signs will still be a disincentive to the smaller tourist destinations.


5.8 — 5.12

Tourist signs on Urban Motorways — no new signs unless a significant case for them

Urban motorway networks are special in that they run through densely populated urban areas. There tends to be very little scope for locating additional traffic signs and therefore, it is proposed that special consideration should be applied to applications for tourist signs in these areas.


Chapter 6

Environmental Impact — additional consultation requirements in National Parks, National Scenic Areas, Geoparks, Areas of Great Landscape Value and Conservation Areas.

It is considered appropriate to clarify that consultation with appropriate bodies should be carried out before approving signs in sensitive areas.


Chapter 8

Symbols — clarification on use of symbols

The guidance on the use of symbols on tourist signs on Trunk Roads and Motorways has been simplified.
The preference for the use of the ‘thistle’ symbol is retained.
Some criticism was received that existing signs often contained more than one thistle symbol which was not useful. Therefore, guidance on sign design is given.



Signs to accommodation may be permitted on trunk roads within towns/villages (subject to local policy).

It is recognised that signs to hotels and B&Bs can provide very useful information to drivers looking for overnight accommodation. Therefore, it is proposed that the signing of these premises is permitted from the trunk road provided that it is consistent with the local authority signposting policy.

Chapter 8

Chapter 10

Clarification of Local Facilities signing.
Specific guidance on the use of these signs.

Signs for ‘local facilities’ to diagrams 2308.1 and 2309.1 are not tourist signs and the destinations do not need to be recognised (or QA approved) by VisitScotland. However, signs to diagrams 2328 and 2329 are tourist signs and the destinations should be recognised by VisitScotland (and QA approved where appropriate).


Chapter 11

Collective signing of tourist attractions
- Clarification on use of diagrams 2215 and 2927

To clarify the use of signs to diagrams 2215 (All-purpose roads) and 2927 (Motorways) and to bring policy in line with TSRGD 2002.

Chapter 9


Clarification of signing of NTRs and trails from trunk roads and motorways.



National Parks and Geoparks — signs to be considered on merit in consultation with the relevant Parks Authority, VisitScotland and SNH (where appropriate).

Since Scotland now has 2 national parks, both with trunk roads passing through them and a Geopark, this issue is now addressed.


Chapter 13

Sign Design guidance

Guidance is now provided on design issues and common pitfalls associated with tourist signs.


Chapter 14

Explanation of how excess signing demand will be dealt with

This clarifies the way in which excess signing demand will be dealt with.



Clarification of maintenance liabilities.