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Mobile Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS)

What is an MVAS?

The Moveable Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS) initiative is a locally managed scheme where vehicle activated sign(s) can be purchased by the Parish/Town Council and moved around the village to pre-agreed locations, co-fixed onto existing posts or onto a movable post secured by a ground screw.

MVAS will be set to display the speed limit when approached by a vehicle travelling above a pre-determined speed (typically 33mph in a 30mph speed limit), acting as a reminder to drivers exceeding the speed limit. The aim of this is to encourage a safer driving speed and improve road safety.

The use of ‘smiley faces’ and ‘thank you’ are not permitted as signs on the public highway and therefore must not be used as an MVAS sign face.  Signs must comply with The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD) and be approved for use on the public highway

Where can they be located?

MVAS should be located on the verge or back of a footway, where they can be seen easily by drivers in good time to adjust their speed accordingly. They should not obscure other highway signs or cause visibility issues to road users.

The signs can be fitted onto some existing posts, as long as there is sufficient room on that post to ensure a minimum mounting height (where this applies). They could also be fitted onto Parish/Town Council owned lamp columns, although advice should be taken from your street lighting maintenance contractor to ensure that the structural stability of the column is not affected. Approval may be granted to fit them onto Buckinghamshire County Council owned lighting columns, however this will be considered on a site by site basis.

The minimum mounting height for signs located on pedestrian routes or footways is 2.1m and 2.3m on a cycleway. In verges it should be mounted at approximately 1.5m – 1.8m above ground level.

There should be a minimum clearance of 0.5m between the edge of the carriageway and the sign to ensure that it is not struck by HGV wing mirrors.

In the event that an existing post is not available, a ground screw can be installed at several agreed locations which will allow a new moveable post to be fitted into it. This post will then be used to support the sign and moved around periodically. The post can be hinged if necessary, to allow the sign to be fitted onto the post easier.

How much will it cost?

Costs will vary depending mainly on how the scheme is managed, but will include the following:




MVAS Application Fee

Application to agree MVAS sites with TfB

£350 plus VAT

MVAS Sign and Post


Equipment – supply MVAS sign, including data logging, Bluetooth, additional battery pack, sign / post bracket set and two no. tamtorque clips with padlock, post, ground screws, battery, charger, memory cards, maintenance cost, training, delivery.

Installation costs change frequently, so we recommend contacting suppliers for their latest costs.

Costs to be obtained by promoter

Safety Equipment

Health & Safety equipment (see HSE website link for guidance) – Hi-Vis vests should be used as a minimum.

Costs to be obtained by promoter


Public Liability Insurance of £5m – this is an essential requirement, as instructed by Buckinghamshire County Council’s insurers.

Costs to be obtained by promoter

Staff Costs

Applicant’s own staff costs if relevant

Costs to be obtained by promoter

Road space booking

For the purposes of installing a ground screw, road space must be booked by submitting a licence request to conduct street works. This licence can be found via our Apply Online page and permission must be granted in advance of works.

TfB operates a Permit Scheme on traffic sensitive streets and a Noticing Scheme for non-traffic sensitive streets.

All works affecting the highway must have appropriate traffic management in accordance with the current Code of Practice for Signing and Guarding Roadworks.

£145 +VAT


Underground Service Information

In accordance with Construction Design & Management 2015 (CDM) it is the Clients responsibility to ensure health and safety is adhered to. In this instance, the Client refers to the parish council or customer. Prior to undertaking any excavation or groundscrew installation on the public highway it is mandatory to obtain underground services (stats) information.  TfB will undertake this search in their role as Highway Authority prior to approval of groundscrew sites.

£95 per groundscrew for a single site


£70 per groundscrew for more than one site within the same area.

All costs +VAT


Health & Safety

For each proposed MVAS location a suitable and sufficient risk assessment is to be carried out to identify the significant hazards and to determine the required control measures. Further details and a sample risk assessment can be found on the Health and safety Executive (HSE) website.

Persons installing MVAS on posts or other street furniture should avoid using step ladders etc.

Any persons or organisation installing an MVAS must ensure that they have £5m public liability insurance cover.
If, in the opinion of the Highway Authority, an MVAS is erected where it presents a hazard to the travelling public, the Highway Authority reserves the right to remove the MVAS.

If, in the opinion of the Highway Authority, the scheme is being managed in a way that presents a hazard to the travelling public, the Highway Authority reserves the right to withdraw its approval.

Prior to undertaking any excavation or groundscrew installation on the public highway it is mandatory to obtain underground services (stats) information.  TfB will undertake this search in their role as Highway Authority prior to approval of groundscrew sites.  Once the locations have been agreed, the stats can be requested, which can take between 4 to 6 weeks to be obtained.

How do I apply?

Applications to take up this initiative can be made by Parish/Town Councils or Local Area Forums and should be submitted using the application form along with the fee to cover staff costs.

Following receipt of this form, the applicant will be contacted within 4 weeks to agree a site meeting with the Local Area Technician and supplier of the sign and groundscrews, if required, to agree the most appropriate location(s) and discuss further detail, if required.

Following approval in principle, TfB should be asked to carry out statutory undertaker (utility) searches to ensure the locations are safe to drill into.

Once these have been provided, assuming they are satisfactory, approval will be granted and the applicant can then proceed with the procurement and installation of the scheme directly with the suppliers.

Management of the sign will then be the responsibility of the town/parish council.

Contractor / Supplier Contacts

Work has been carried out with Swarco Traffic Ltd and ground screw specialists to pilot the use of the MVAS since their introduction. As a result of this work, Swarco Traffic Ltd have carried out extensive improvements to develop the sign into an easy to operate, reliable and robust piece of equipment.

Swarco do not provide ground screws or hinged posts.

Applicant may choose to use an alternative supplier; however, we recommend that the usual procurement checks are made before a contract is entered into.

Swarco Traffic Ltd
7 Mercury Road
Gallowfields Trading Estate
Richmond, North Yorks
DL10 4TQ
T. +44 1748 824624
F. +44 1748 824625
M. +44 07515 985170

Sign Sense Consultants can arrange for the supply of ground screws and hinged posts:

Dave Catling, Operations Manager
5 Thompson Drive
OX27 8FA
M: 07900 464208
T: 01869 573497

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