Watch out for ice - in the summer?!

BENEATH blue skies and temperatures soaring above 25C, drivers on one Suffolk road are continually warned of the dangers of ice.

Laurence Cawley

DESPITE the current spell of scorching weather, one small pocket of Suffolk is keeping cool with its own mini ice age.

At least that's the impression some motorists have been left with as they head up the A1088 towards Barnham where, beneath blue skies and temperatures soaring above 25C, they are continually warned of the dangers of ice.

Those living in the area can see the funny side of having an ice warning sign in summer, though they also claim the sign is very important in winter because the road does freeze up just before a sharp bend.

But countryside campaigners claimed the sign was nothing more than “clutter” in hot weather. And Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for signs in the county, agrees with them and has pledged to take the sign down until the return of cold weather.

Carole Youngs, clerk to Barnham Parish Council, said the sign, although out of place during the hot summer months, served an important purpose during the cold of winter.

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“In winter there's quite a serious bend and it does get icy there. Obviously in weather like this it seems a little strange for a sign warning of ice but signs are not seasonal. For most people the sign is not a source of amusement because they know how bad it can be.”

Last year, a survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found seven out of 10 signs were “unnecessary”.

Richard Ward, director of the Suffolk Preservation Society, which is the county's branch of CPRE, said the ice warning sign should be taken down when not needed to prevent unnecessary cluttering of the road.

“Ice signs have only got relevance for a short period of the year so we've got to think about when some signs are up and to make sure they are easier to put up when they are necessary and taken down when they are not.

“It is a bit like farmers who go from one field to another - they'll often put a sign up temporarily stating there is mud in the road.

“When the mud is gone they take the sign down and it should be the same with ice. The general rule is to remove unnecessary clutter from the sides of roads.”

A spokeswoman for the county council, which oversees road signs, said: “The start to the summer has been quick this year. Only two weeks ago we were reaching for our umbrellas, not the bucket and spades.

“Road signs which make drivers aware of dangerous winter weather conditions lose their impact in the summer. The signs are currently being taken down whilst we all enjoy the summer months, and will be reinstated when the colder months replace the warm sunshine.

The strange world of road signs:

The Californian city of Pasadena boasts a sign that reads “distracted drivers kill”.

In Melton Mowbray there is a sign which reads “humped zebra crossing”.

Ontario, Canada, has a sign warning “CAUTION: this sign has sharp edges. Do not touch the edges of this sign.”

In Pennsylvania, United States, there is a sign pointing to “Bear Bottom Drive”.

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