DfT stalls moving traffic enforcement roll-out


The Department for Transport (DfT) has shelved the further roll-out of powers for English councils to enforce moving traffic violations.

The Government was due to lay regulations in Parliament on 11 March, to allow a new tranche of 22 local highway authorities to enforce such contraventions at identified locations from 6 April.

However, the DfT wrote to the authorities to tell them that ‘unfortunately’ the ‘Tranche 3 Designation Order’ had not been laid and that the powers would not come into force.

It suggested that the Designation Order may have been shelved until after the general election, stating that it would be delivered alongside other measures in the Government’s Plan for Drivers – ‘likely later in the year or early next year’.

Sources have suggested that the planned roll-out may have been axed because it did not fit with the Government's proclaimed backing for drivers.

Just a week after this decision, the DfT announced a raft of measures in what it called a crackdown on anti-driver road schemes.

This included a call for evidence on restricting the amount of surplus funds councils can generate from fines for traffic contraventions such as no entry; no left or right turn; prohibited vehicles; box junction infringements or driving in mandatory cycle lanes.

The announcement cited concerns in the Plan for Drivers, published in October last year, about councils generating surpluses from issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs) for contraventions of moving traffic restrictions

The Plan for Drivers said some drivers believe that councils use penalty charge notices (PCNs) ‘far too liberally’ and often to raise revenue, citing an increased number being issued and a high (43%) success rate for appeals.

In the foreword to the consultation, transport secretary Mark Harper asked: ‘Should government remove any suggestion there is a “profit motive” for local councils – such as by requiring any surpluses that councils might generate from new charges to be repaid to His Majesty’s Treasury?'

Following years of campaigning, the first 11 local authorities outside London were given the same powers to enforce moving traffic violations as those in the capital in July 2022. Mr Harper said last month that 52 councils outside London had been given these powers.

Isaac Occhipinti, head of external affairs at the British Parking Association said: ‘These powers have been successfully implemented in several areas in England since 2022 and evidence shows they are having a positive impact; keeping children safe from inconsiderate and dangerous driving and parking outside of schools, keeping pedestrian areas free of cars and preventing careless driving the wrong way down one-way streets and ignoring no entry signs.

‘Local community engagement and feedback in these areas demonstrates that most local residents are supportive and appreciative of better management of their streets, which is protecting them from inconsiderate and dangerous drivers.’

One council affected was West Sussex County Council, which told Transport Network that it had already been granted certain moving traffic enforcement powers but its full application has been deferred.

A spokesperson said: 'We have yet to approve a policy for moving traffic enforcement therefore it has not yet been implemented at any sites.'

The DfT also appears to have shelved plans to ban pavement parking outside London, after a consultation that ended in November 2022.

Transport Network has approached the DfT for comment.

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