|The B4157 in Staffordshire is an example of a defunct road.|
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A Defunct road is a SABRE-invented term for a road number that is no longer allocated to a particular road. It does not mean that the physical road itself has been removed. To be considered to be defunct, the entire road number must be removed - it is not considered to be defunct if any stretch of the road number continues to be allocated to the same road.
It is closely related to the concept of a recycled number.
Roads were first classified in the United Kingdom in 1922, and the first defunct roads appeared very soon afterwards where roads had been classified as a B road in the original system but in fact carried sufficient traffic to be given an A road number.
As far as SABRE can tell, the first examples of road numbers becoming defunct occurred in April 1923. By the following round of annual changes in April 1924 (May 1924 in Scotland), the following had become defunct: