NEW LAWS: The Somerset Regional Council will impose new roadside memorial laws. Photo: File image.
NEW LAWS: The Somerset Regional Council will impose new roadside memorial laws. Photo: File image.

Somerset council's brutal new roadside memorial laws

FAMILIES who lose a loved one in a road traffic accident will have to abide by a council's new, tough roadside memorial legislation.

Somerset Regional Council will enforce temporary memorial construction laws on its roads in a bid to reduce driver distraction and ease of roadside maintenance.

The new policy will enforce size and material construction laws to reduce distraction, nuisance and obstacles to motorists.

Though councillors were sympathetic towards those who had lost loved ones in road fatalities, they gave their unanimous approval for the policy during the most recent council meeting.

"I commend this policy, I think it's going to be well-received by the vast majority of people," Councillor Sean Choat said.

"I think a lot of people might not realise there are consequences for erecting memorials."

New roadside memorials will need to be placed off the roadway so they don't obstruct road maintenance or traffic control measures.

They can also not distract or disrupt other drivers, vehicles or emergency services.

People will not be allowed to place memorials on traffic islands, medians or roundabouts, and they also cannot be affixed to power poles, trees or any traffic control item.

Only organic flowers are allowed to be placed at memorials, with biodegradable or no wrapping, while plastic flowers, memorabilia, pictures, and the like are not allowed.

Memorials for animals are also not permitted.

There will also be specific regulations for how big memorials can be, with maximum limitations being a height of 50cm, width of 30cm, and depth of 20cm.

"We've got to encourage alternative sites for memorials, such as at cemeteries," Cr Robert Whalley said.

Cr Choat said it was important to consider how memorials could distract, upset, or effect other people, not just drivers, but also nearby property owners, pedestrians, and other foot traffic.

"A lot of people can be impacted, in a lot of different ways, by seeing these sorts of things," he said.

"I'm glad council is acting on this issue," Cr Cheryl Gaedtke said.

"A lot of other councils don't act on this, and seeing us outline a policy might motivate other councils to do the same."