“County Durham” Boundary Road Signs

I believe that “County Durham” boundary road signs are illegal and have raised the following with the Highways Agency (HA):

Fundamental to my communication with you is that:

  • Durham County Council administrative area (DCC) is different to the area covered by County Durham. DCC does not cover the main population centres of Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees or Darlington but does cover areas south of the River Tees.
  • County Durham covers the area between the River Tees to the River Tyne up to their border with Cumberland and Westmorland. Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington are all a fundamental part of County Durham.
  • The name of Durham County Council is Durham County Council.
  • The name of County Durham is County Durham.
  • Both Durham County Council and County Durham exist as separate entities, this was confirmed by the Department For Transport on 9 October 2012

I am of the opinion that:

  1. Those signs erected south of the River Tees in Yorkshire breach the Traffic Signs Manual and fundamental legislation as “Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be unambiguous and speedily understood” The signs are clearly ambiguous as they state County Durham to mark the DCC boundary in Yorkshire. For the signs to be compliant of the legislation they should state Durham County Council.
  2. Those signs erected south of the River Tees in Yorkshire breach the Traffic Signs Manual and fundamental legislation as “Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be unambiguous and speedily understood” The signs are clearly ambiguous as the strap line must reflect the area that the signs are displayed in. The “Land of the Prince Bishops” never came south of the River Tees into Yorkshire and as such the strap line breaches fundamental legislation.
  3. Signs seen upon departing Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington breach the Traffic Signs Manual and fundamental legislation as “Signs must give road users their message clearly and at the correct time. The message must be unambiguous and speedily understood” The signs are clearly ambiguous as they state County Durham to mark the DCC boundary upon leaving Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington when these five places are already in County Durham. For the signs to be compliant of the legislation they should state Durham County Council.

Could I please request from the Highways Agency:

  1. A definitive and unambiguous statement as to their opinion with regards the three points raised above?
  2. To be informed of all the “County Durham” road signs south of the River Tees in Yorkshire or seen upon leaving Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington that the Highways Agency are responsible for?
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