BRIDGWATER and West Somerset's MP has condemned the 'inexcusable failure' of ministers to act on a Government-commissioned report produced eight months ago with the aim of reducing the clutter of signage on England's roads.

The Road Signs Task Force was commissioned by then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin last year, as he announced new powers for councils to tear down some of the notices which have sprouted in growing numbers around the country.

He said at the time that 'common-sense reforms' would help get rid of 'pointless signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers'. The number of signs on English roads had more than doubled from 2.45 million in 1993 to 4.57 million in 2013, he said.

The Task Force report in March made a range of recommendations, including:

- Removing entire categories of signs, like "box Brownie" camera notices;

- Vastly reducing the number of triangular warning signs, as well as notices marking clearways, parking control zones, red routes and cycle routes;

- Requiring all highway authorities to produce a publicly-available list of their signs, with assessments of whether each is necessary;

- Creating a citizen's right to contest specific signs, to be judged by a new compliance unit in the Department for Transport, with penalties for highway authorities which fail to respond;

- Allowing highway authorities to place signs on railings and walls, rather than on posts.

Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger asked the Transport Department a series of parliamentary questions about when and how it would implement the report's recommendations, but was told only that 'the Government receives many representations and keeps policies under review'.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: "There are thousands of useless road signs across the country, such as clearway signs and little circles telling you there is a roundabout ahead when you can clearly see the roundabout.

"Even more stupid are triangles with a traffic light image on them when the whole point of traffic lights is that they are staring right at you and you can see them.

"This is a very thorough report which would make a big difference to our built environment. If this were implemented it would put an end to inexcusable sloppy practice which disfigures so many of our streets and highways.

"This report took a panel of experts over a year to put together and the Department of Transport has just ignored it and stuck it in a drawer. The failure of the Department for Transport to respond to this positively and actually do something is inexcusable.

"This report has done all the thinking that is needed to make our streets look better and it is high time the transport minister took some action and did something positive to force councils, Transport for London and Highways England to address their substandard practices."