A STICKY referendum issue has raised its head in Moray.
The local authority has issued a plea to campaigners to stop placing stickers on road signs.
The call – backed by both the Yes and Better Together campaigns – comes after it emerged there will be costly consequences to the taxpayer.
The circular stickers are causing damage to the signs when Moray Council roads staff remove them, which engineers claim will lead to shortened life and significant costs for replacements.
Returning Officer for the referendum in Moray, Mark Palmer, said the strong adhesive used on the stickers is pulling a protective layer off with it when they are removed.
“The road signs are made using a laminated system, and it is this top layer of clear plastic that is being damaged when road staff peel the stickers off,” he said.
“This leaves the sign vulnerable to water ingress and corrosion, which will shorten its life considerably. These signs are on average £350 each, with some of the large A-road ones costing much more.
“The lettering on some of the older signs that have just a painted surface has been coming off with the stickers, so these will need to be replaced more urgently.”
Time is also being wasted, with roads staff having to remove the stickers, especially where they obscure driver information.
Roads engineers have been out daily, and say that as the referendum date gets closer the instances are increasing.
A spokesman said: “Three weeks ago there were just six signs affected; yesterday there were 25.
“It takes a roads engineer a full day to clean up all the affected road signs in Moray, only to find many were targeted with new stickers within 24 hours.
“As the referendum is still seven weeks away this is likely to increase, so hopefully campaigners will hear our plea and use other places to promote their cause.”
Local agreements are in place with all political parties to prevent pre-election fly-posting on road signs and lamp standards.
Better Together’s Douglas Ross, Councillor for FochabersLhanbryde, endorsed the council’s plea.
“The number of people who have contacted me about that has been quite stark,” he said.
“People are annoyed to see party political slogans grafittied onto road signs and now we know there is quite a significant cost to the council to remove them.
“I would certainly urge people from both sides of the debate to stop it, but from my viewing, it is certainly predominantly the Yes campaign who seem to be putting these stickers in inappropriate locations.”
A spokesperson for the Yes Moray campaign said: “Yes Moray has a huge amount of campaign activity going on and we are very much aware of the rules that need to be followed when it comes to signage. There are also many people acting individually and we would urge all campaigners on both sides, to be enthusiastic but also to act appropriately.”