New powers to remove pointless road signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers will be given to councils on Friday 22 April.

According to the Department for Transport the number of road signs in England more than doubled from 2.45 million in 1993 to an estimated 4.57 million in 2013.

Simpler rules are being brought in to give town halls the power to take down unnecessary signs and for the first time, signs that say ‘new’ layout ahead will have ‘remove by dates’ on the back so they are not needlessly left in place for years.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Road signs should only be installed on our roads when they are essential. Our common-sense reforms will help get rid of pointless signs that are an eyesore and distract drivers.

“These new rules will also save £30m in taxpayers’ cash by 2020, leaving drivers with just the signs they need to travel safely.”

The department has appointed Sir Alan Duncan MP to lead a taskforce that is looking at removing pointless signs – and this crackdown will pave the way for wider changes.