The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), due to be launched today, is seeking new powers to operate a ‘Key Route Network’ for the region, including powers to enforce moving traffic violations and create Clean Air Zones (CAZ).
The proposals are contained in a report to the WMCA Board on the powers to be exercised under an elected mayor.
Birmingham is required to have a Clean Air Zone by 2020
The official launch of the combined authority is due to take place today after being delayed due to an MP raising a formal objection. A spokesman said it was hoped it would ‘come into formal effect in the next week or so’.
A report to the Board, which met last Friday set out proposed governance arrangements on transport, economic growth, housing and other issues.
Under the region’s devolution agreement, a mayor for the authority, to be elected next year, will have ‘responsibility for a new Key Route Network of local authority roads that will be managed and maintained at the Metropolitan level by the WMCA on behalf of the mayor’.
The report makes a number of proposals to allow the mayoral WMCA to manage the WMKRN, including that it be statutorily defined.
It also proposes that the WMKRN should be designated a civil enforcement area for moving traffic violations under Section 74 and Schedule 8 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 or the equivalent legislative provisions.
If so designated, the WMCA would become the first English authority outside London to have the power to enforce offences such as such as stopping in yellow boxes, making prohibited turns and unauthorised entry into bus lanes.
The report also proposes giving the mayor and the mayoral WMCA 'the power to create Low Emissions Zones and Clean Air Zones, with the affected highway authority(ies)consent'.
Birmingham is one of five cities required to have a CAZ by 2020 under the Government’s national Air Quality Plan.
Under the forthcoming Bus Services Bill, the mayor will be given the power to franchise bus services.
However, the WMCA is also seeking further powers in relation to buses, including that the transport secretary’s power to make grants to bus service operators in relation to services that operate ‘wholly or mainly in the Mayoral WMCA Area’ should be exercised ‘in consultation with the Mayor’.
Last week Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), the transport arm of the WMCA, announced plans to drive forward more than £4bn of transport infrastructure over the coming decade.