The Cones Hotline was a telephone hotline introduced by the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom John Major in June of 1992 to allow members of the public to enquire about roadworks on the country's roads and report areas where traffic cones had been deployed on a road for no apparent reason. The telephone number for the hotline (originally 0345 504030, later 08457 504030) was usually displayed on signs after sections of roadworks.
The hotline was widely seen as being a waste of government resources, costing several thousand pounds per year to run. It was quietly disbanded in September of 1995, having fielded a total of fewer than twenty thousand calls. It was rumoured that many of these calls were not serious enquiries, with many a prankster calling up to request a "'99 with raspberry sauce".
The telephone number for the hotline was still displayed on the website of Greater Manchester Police as of October 2007, 12 years after the service was disbanded. http://www.gmp.police.uk/mainsite/pages/usefulnos.htm
The service did inspire the term cone syndrome, to describe a piece of legislation made by a government that seems to serve no real purpose.
- "I've spotted some cones."
- "How many?"
- "About four and a half million on the M6, doing absolutely nothing."
- "Thank you for telling us."