The current Government does not want to grant councils in England control over the enforcement of moving traffic violations, despite authorities in London and Wales already having the powers, according to one of the most senior figures in the Department for Transport (DfT).
Under Part Six of the Traffic Management Act 2004, ministers can give councils the power to issue fines for offences such as such as stopping in yellow boxes and making prohibited turns.
These powers are in force in London and the Welsh Government has offered local authorities the powers on request; however elsewhere in England the offences are still enforced by the police.
Council chiefs in the Local Government Association (LGA) have been campaigning for years for ministers to pass these powers on to other authorities across England but successive Governments have refused.
Tricia Hayes, DfT director general for roads, motoring and devolution, told councillors on the LGA’s environment, economy, housing and transport board, that the new Government is also unlikely to grant any such powers outside London.
‘I think we should just keep the conversation going. Ministers aren’t there right now. Ministers are looking at the amount of money being generated by individual box junctions in London and thinking is this a tool we want to make more widely available. It’s not where we are right now,’ she said.
‘I wouldn’t want you to think we are sitting on our hands on this. We are going to have to engage partly because of the legislative process in the Buses Bill. It’s on the table now. I am just being honest. Working with what ministers got when they arrived, it’s not where they want to go right now.’
Chair of the transport board and leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, Martin Tett, said the situation was ‘illogical’ and ‘discriminatory’.
‘I know the Government’s view is: “You local authorities will just milk it to fund services”. One of the offers we have made is if we implement the Act we will do so in a way that is fair for the motorist but also we could direct the money into agreed services that the Government recognises needs funding.
‘What is it that is different in Uxbridge from Denham. if I walk 100 yards over a boundary why is congestion and the mindset of a local authority so different?’
Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Steve Count, went further and said: ‘Sometimes when you have a difficult point to get across maybe a bit of levity will help. I feel racially abused here. I wasn’t born in London, because I wasn’t born a Londoner I have different powers to them. It’s the only way I can get my message across but realistically none of the laws should be drawn up in this way; it should be more of an encompassing power for the nation. I don’t have all the tools I need for Cambridge.’