Road markings and signage

The Highway Code gives examples of markings and signs in normal use. All lines on the highway must be authorised by the authority. Special lines are allowed with prior approval of the Department for Transport, or if they are experimental and under trial.

Yellow lines

Yellow lines are provided where there is a need to restrict parking to help alleviate traffic flow and to prevent obstructions on the highway. There are only 2 types used:

  • double lines - usually to mark lengths of road where there is no waiting at any time, however there are exceptions to this and supplementary plates fixed to lighting columns or posts will tell you what the restriction is
  • single lines - usually indicate a shorter period of restriction such as daytime, supplementary plates will show the actual times

Loading restrictions are shown by yellow markings on the kerb and on the supplementary plates.

White lines

White lines on the road are provided to help road users by giving different types of information on lane use and directions.

Longitudinal markings inform and warn road users of approaching situations that will require them to take some form of action (for example, solid white line - do not cross, or lane line - turn right). 

Transverse lines also give instruction , for example, stop or give way.

All lines on the highway must be authorised by the authority. Special lines are allowed with prior approval of the Department for Transport, or if they are experimental and under trial.

Parking controls

As car ownership increases, councils are receiving an increasing number of requests for parking controls.

We can only control parking by imposing parking restrictions, which would need to go through a lengthy legal and advertisement process before yellow lines could be laid. We are only in a position to fund a small proportion of the traffic measures that residents ask for and priority is given to those schemes which will be most beneficial for the general public, such as when the restrictions are being imposed to protect locations where there has been a history of accidents or to keep a major road clear.

In residential roads, restrictions would merely move the parking to somewhere that is equally unsuitable. Experience has shown that restrictions are often opposed by other road users and residents in areas where they feel that residential parking is a more important consideration than traffic flow, and so we would only proceed with parking controls in exceptional circumstances.

We also have a general policy that waiting restrictions will not be introduced purely to protect private driveways, we have no responsibility to keep driveways clear and it is not practicable to impose waiting restrictions to protect sightlines from driveways in an urban area (where residential roads have driveways at regular intervals).

If you still feel that you would like to ask us to consider imposing yellow lines you must make a request in writing or email to the Head of Transportation Services. Part of the legal procedure requires councils to advertise their intention to impose parking restrictions and there are often objections from other road users. We need to keep a record of the original request so that this can be considered against the objections to the restrictions.

The legal processes take between 6 and 9 months to complete, and the number of requests mean that schemes normally need to wait until the following financial year for funding.

Page last updated: 11 February 2019
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Traffic signals, road markings and signage