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Tourist signs (brown signs)

Information on our policy and central government guidance about using brown tourist signs.


We are currently running a limited service but will respond to emergency and essential work where it is possible and safe to do so. There will be delays in responding to non-emergency and non-essential works.

Purpose of sign

While white on brown signs are seen as useful marketing tools, they should not be used as a means of by-passing planning law or as a substitute for good promotion of a business. Their main purpose is to safely guide visitors along the most appropriate route during the latter stage of their journey, particularly where the destination may be difficult to find. Like all directional signs, they should only be used where they will benefit road users, ie as an aid to navigation and for traffic management and road safety reasons.

Requesting a sign

The numbers of signs approved will be those that are deemed the minimum necessary to find the destination. This cuts down on unnecessary clutter and reflects the uses of alternative way-finding technologies such as satellite navigation and the internet.

White on brown directional signs are traffic signs and must comply with The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions and the guidance for their use. Signs should also comply with the design guidance given in chapter seven of the Traffic Signs Manual.

All costs are covered by the applicant. Please make sure you have read our policy before applying.

Brown Tourist Sign Policy

Our policy was developed in line with Department for Transport and County Surveyors' Society guidance, and developed in order to address traffic management and road safety needs. We were also aware that there needed to be  an open and fair assessment process, working with Northumbrian Tourist Board, the English Tourist Board, and the county and district tourist groups.

The current policy has been revised in line with more recent guidance, most notable the Highways Agency Design Manual for Roads and Bridges TA94/04. Changes have included the creation of the Visit Britain organisation (previously the English Tourist Board), and changes in the types of attractions and facilities that have been developed since the original policy.

It should be noted that we do not act independently in assessing the worth or otherwise of any individual application for signage. The policy sets out how we use the standards set out by organisations such as Visit Britain, the Durham Tourism Partnership and our use of the Visitors Charter.

Contact us
Traffic Section
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Regeneration and Local Services
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ
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