To request to place temporary event direction signs, please email


Policy Statement

Dorset Council will support temporary event direction signs for traffic management and road safety purposes only, where appropriate on the highway and for a limited period of time.

Dorset Council will remove any signs that do not comply with this policy or which constitute a danger to highway users.

This policy was authorised by Cabinet of the former Dorset County council on 3 April 2013.

Policy objectives

  • to ensure that any temporary event signs do not cause an obstruction and/or a safety issue to highway users
  • to ensure that any temporary event signs do not create an unnecessary visual intrusion
  • to ensure that temporary events are recorded on the council's booking system and the impact on other works and events is fully considered
  • to ensure that all temporary event direction signs meet the conditions of use specified by Dorset Council
  • to ensure that temporary event direction signs placed on the highway are assessed for safety
  • to ensure that a consistent approach to temporary event directions signs is applied across the county
  • to minimise risk of discrimination against any equality group when temporary event direction signs are placed on the highway

Key Influences

  • Highways Act 1980
  • Traffic Management Act 2004
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1990
  • Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
  • Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002
  • Traffic Signs (Amendment No 2) Regulations and General Directions 2011
  • Traffic Signs Manual, Chapter 8
  • Equalities Act 2010

Legal Basis

Section 65 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 gives the Council (as Highway Authority) the power to erect signs which are specified in the Traffic Sign Regulations and General Direction 2002 as amended. This power must be exercised in accordance with the Highway Authority's duty to protect the rights and safety of members of the public using the highway.

Section 149 (2) of the Highways Act 1980 grants powers to the council (as Highway Authority) to remove any signs from the highway that are a danger (including obstructing the view of highway users).

Definitions and Scope

The definition of a temporary event is one that is organised by a charity, organisation, school, business, etc that has a duration of no more than 7 days and one that is expected to attract in excess of 500 people per day. (Examples of this might be the Melplash Show and the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show).

Temporary event direction signing includes all types of directional signs/information signs/inanimate characters placed on the highways.


Signs erected on the highway (including verges, footpaths, paved areas, footways and other pavements) or attached to highway furniture and street lights.


  • temporary event direction signs erected on private property, including privately owned shopping centres
  • signs for events which are purely for private purposes (e.g. birthdays) or commercial purposes (e.g. sale of goods advertising or housing developments) - dealt with under the unauthorised signs policy
  • erection of A-Boards - dealt with under the A-Boards policy
  • signs used purely to advertise the event. However, the Highway Authority may in certain circumstances agree to these (e.g. Great Dorset Steam Fair, Bournemouth Airshow, etc) to help with congestion
  • signs for events such as car boot sales, jumble sales and so on

Outline of process

There are 3 stages involved in applying for temporary event direction signing

Stage 1 - application

A request for temporary event direction signs should be submitted to the Traffic Manager, Dorset Highways at least 13 weeks in advance of the event

Stage 2 - approval

Dorset Highways will give proper consideration to the application and will consult the Police where necessary.

If approved, the applicant will be given authorisation from Dorset Highways for the temporary event direction signs with conditions of use guidance. If rejected, the applicant will be given an explanation of the reasons for the decision.

Stage 3 - removal

Temporary event direction signs must be removed within 24 hours of the event ending

Failure to remove signs within this period will result in removal of the signs by the council. The signs will be stored for 14 days. If they have not been collected during this period the council will dispose of the signs.

Measures of Effectiveness

  • number of complaints/comments relating to temporary event direction signs
  • number of enforcement actions required on temporary event direction signs that do not comply with this policy
  • records that demonstrate consistent enforcement of this policy across the county

Sign requirements

General Requirements

  • any signs that do not meet the requirements set out in this document will be removed
  • any dispute over the interpretation of the locations and compliance with the conditions will be reviewed by the Traffic Manager, whose decision will be enforced
  • temporary event signing shall be erected for traffic management or road safety purposes only and shall not be used for advertising the event. It is the responsibility of the organisers to properly advertise the event using appropriate methods such as the press or internet
  • temporary event signing will be permitted at venues that already have permanent local direction signing or tourist signs in place, but only where the Traffic Manager considers that such signs will improve traffic management or road safety
  • signs shall not be erected more than seven days in advance of an event and be removed within 24 hours after it has ended
  • any signs erected must comply with the provisions set out in the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 and give clear information about the route to be followed. Information giving the details of the organisation erecting the sign must be displayed on the reverse of the sign
  • a request for temporary event direction signing should be submitted to Dorset Council a minimum of 13 weeks in advance of the event to allow time for a proper assessment of the issues involved and for the Police to be consulted where necessary
  • those erecting temporary signs on the highway must have the prerequisite public indemnity insurance and must take all necessary measures to avoid danger on the highway as specified in Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual and the Code of Practice “Safety at Street Works and Road Works”
  • those erecting temporary signs on the highway will be required to indemnify Dorset Council against any claim arising from an incident alleged to have been caused by the inadequacy of a temporary sign
  • the Council will request the removal of any unauthorised sign(s) associated with an event. In the event these unauthorised signs are not removed the Council will arrange for the signs to be removed (in line with the Unauthorised Signs policy)
  • If the event requires a road closure or restriction of any description, then please refer to guidance for event organisers

Placement of signs

  • it is acknowledged that the use of event signs in some localised areas may cause an obstruction and that alternative arrangements may be required. In such cases, a resolution will need to be sought to confirm this and the area over which it applies
  • event signs erected on grass verges can create a danger to traffic when being erected and create significant issues when grass cutting takes place. As a result, event signs will not be authorised on grass verges
  • temporary event signs erected on central reservations, roundabouts, pedestrian refuges and at junctions could constitute a danger to road traffic when being erected and will not be authorised
  • temporary event signs attached to existing street furniture must be properly secured
  • signs must not be attached to street lighting columns until the owner’s approval has been acquired. In the majority of cases in Dorset, the owner will be Scottish and Southern Energy Contracting (SSEC)
  • where a specific sign is identified by the council as creating a hazard for pedestrians and particularly the disabled or visually impaired, the owner must respond reasonably and promptly by relocating or removing the sign. This includes hazards created from a sign being blown over in exceptionally strong winds

Share this page