CORK County Council members has approved a new policy on roadside memorials for crash victims.
This policy will ensure floral tributes, commemorative plaques, pictures and soft toys will be banned from roadside memorials to loved ones fatally injured in car crashes throughout the county.
Grieving families will now have to apply to their local authority to get permission to erect monuments going forward.
This policy is being introduced by the county council to standardise roadside tributes and make them safer places for grieving relatives to visit.
Independent councillor Declan Hurley who is the head of the committee which drew up the bylaws welcomed the approval of the new policy by his colleagues.
"This will all be done through the local area engineers. Council staff will consider all applications individually and make recommendations accordingly. This policy does not affect existing memorials,” he said.
"The council aims to ensure that public roads in its charge are kept safe for all road users, and this policy endeavours to balance the wishes of the bereaved with that of public safety. This policy, in general, will not affect existing memorials erected by members of the public. However, should an existing memorial become damaged and need replacing, the replacement memorial must comply with this policy."
The proposed new roadside memorials will have to follow very detailed specifications. They have to be 600mm in height and 600mm in width, and 150mm deep.
The bylaws state any memorial shall be located at the back of the roadside verge, along the line of the boundary wall, fence, hedgerow or ditch.
Where the boundary is of solid construction, such as a wall, the memorial may be affixed to that structure, so that the maximum level of the top of the memorial is 1 metre, above the surrounding level.
Where the road boundary is not of solid construction, such as hedgerow, fence or drain, the memorial may be freestanding, however if the freestanding memorial is of stone or metal it must be mounted at ground level.
Landscaping of the memorial with permanent or semi-permanent fixtures, including kerbing, is not permissible.
Floral tributes should not exceed a one-metre square area and Cork County Council reserves the right to remove excess floral tributes if deemed a safety issue or receives justifiable complaints from the general public.
The memorial shall not be illuminated and shall not include items likely to distract road users, such as reflectorized stickers, glass, soft toys, plants and solar lights.
Families will have two years to make a written application to Cork County Council following a bereavement. They can then liaise with the Cork County Council and local engineers with regards to the best and safest way to erect roadside memorials.
Director of Services, Roads and Transportation Padraig Barrett also welcomed the new policy.
“The policy is intended to provide comfort to those families who have suffered bereavement as a result of a road traffic accident. It will be implemented through the area offices.
"There were 19 fatalities on Cork roads last year which is a very high number. This represents the highest number in about ten years. The policy is a straightforward measure which will help families identify the location of their loss and grief in a safe way.”