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Rural Roads Protocol

Dorset's rural roads are an integral part of our landscape, set within outstanding countryside that is rich in heritage. The way we manage our roads and roadsides can have a big impact on the environment; we want to make sure that any impact is positive.

The adopted as formal policy in April 2008, sets out our approach to how we manage the roads in Dorset's countryside. The protocol's main principle is to use the local setting and distinctiveness of the rural environment to guide our road management decisions. The protocol reflects the latest national and regional thinking.

The vision

'All decisions affecting Dorset's rural highways will ensure the conservation and enhancement of the outstanding quality of its landscape and settlements, while delivering a safe and convenient network for all modes of transport.'

Our principles

In all our work on rural roads and streets, Dorset Council will:

  • balance the safety and access needs of users with care for the environment and the quality of our landscape and settlements
  • use local materials and design schemes to be sympathetic to the character of our rural settlements
  • consider the landscape adjacent to the road and address ecological and historical needs and interests
  • address sustainability and consider the potential impacts of climate change, ensuring that our management of rural roads and streets does not create or contribute to foreseeable environmental problems in the future
  • keep signs, lines and street furniture to the minimum needed for safety and remove intrusive roadside clutter
  • where signs and markings are needed, we will adapt standard designs wherever possible to make them the best possible fit with local surroundings
  • encourage and test innovative approaches and make full use of the flexibility in national regulations, standards and codes of practice