Moving Traffic Offences
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From 31 May 2022, local highway authorities in England outside of London have been able to apply to the Secretary of State for new powers to enforce 'moving traffic offences'.
Moving traffic offences include:
- Driving through a 'No Entry' sign
- Turning left or right when instructed not to do so
- Entering yellow box junctions when the exit is not clear
- Driving where and when motor vehicles are prohibited
- Driving on routes that are for buses and taxis only
- Going the wrong way in a one-way street
- Ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)
Currently enforcement of moving traffic offences can only be carried out by the police under criminal law and a penalty notice issued. However, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced in 2020 that they would be fully implementing the remaining elements of the Traffic Management Act 2004 - Part 6 Civil enforcement of traffic contraventions. This allows local highway authorities, in this case West Berkshire Council, to undertake enforcement, as the offences have been decriminalised and can be treated as civil contraventions. Local highway authorities will be able to issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCN), more commonly known as fines, to motorists.
West Berkshire Council will be applying for the new powers to expand the work we already do to improve road safety and tackle congestion.
How do West Berkshire Council plan to use the enforcement powers?
At first, we plan to use the powers wherever a School Streets Scheme has been implemented. As part of the feedback from our pilot scheme at the Calcot Schools at Royal Avenue/Curtis Road and Gatcombe Close, it was identified that although the majority of road users abide by the restrictions, there is a small but significant number of people that do not. This creates a risk for those that continue to support and participate in active travel.
Thames Valley Police support the principles of the School Street Scheme, and were able to provide enforcement for the launch and early stages of the pilot; however, it is not realistic to expect a continued Police presence to deter potential offences. The new powers will help us enforce the restriction, and keep children and families safe. We will install traffic cameras to monitor, and issue PCN's to those entering the restricted areas during the key school drop-off and pick-up times.
How will sites be chosen?
We would take a consistent and measured approach to enforcement, using cameras at sites where it has been identified there is an absolute need.
There would be a robust decision-making process in place to ensure that each site is chosen on the merits of how it will improve the area if traffic contraventions are enforced.
Introducing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and issuing PCN's would not be the standard approach for all locations. It would only be installed at locations where it has been proved there is an absolute need.
Each potential site must help achieve at least one of the following objectives (as outlined by the DfT application conditions):
- Improve road safety
- Encourage active travel choices
- Tackle network congestion
- Increase public transport reliability
- Improve air quality
- Increase lifespan of highway assets
What will happen to the income generated by PCN's?
Unlike funds raised by speed camera fines, which are transferred to central government, any money raised through this enforcement will be kept by local authority, but must be spent on:
- Recouping costs of enforcement
- Paying for public transport provision
- Paying for highway improvement projects
- Paying for environmental improvements in the authority's area
Should there be any money left over once the operational costs have been met, this will be used for highway improvement projects in line with strict government guidance.
Making money is not an aim of enforcing moving traffic offences. We're applying for these powers to make a difference to the highway network, and not as a source of financial income.
We hope that better enforcement would help improve compliance at these sites to make the necessary safety, congestion, and public transport improvements. As compliance improves, the number of PCN's would hopefully fall.
When would the new powers start?
The start date is dependent on the legislation and the parliamentary timeline. It is estimated that the enforcement powers will come into effect in 2023. When we're able to take over responsibility of enforcement, we would widely publicise any implementation, and warning notices will be issued for first time offences for a period of six months, following the 'go live' date.
How will offences be enforced?
The government have issued guidelines that regulate how local highway authorities must enforce moving traffic offences. Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras must be Vehicle Certification Agency compliant and will be installed at the sites to be enforced and PCN's will be issued via post to the 'Registered Keeper' of the vehicle (in the same way bus lane cameras currently operate).
Will drivers be able to challenge PCN's?
When a PCN is issued, there will be details on how a challenge can be made. As with parking PCN's, this must be in writing and within the timescales set out on the PCN. For the first six months of operation warning notices will be sent for first time offences.
Why we want your views
We'd like to know your views on the new powers, and whether you have any alternative ideas or suggestions on how to improve road safety, particularly around schools, and reduce congestion.
How to take part
If you'd like to comment on our proposal, you can do so by email to Activetravel@westberks.gov.uk or by letter to School Streets - Part 6 Powers, Traffic and Road Safety Team, Environment Department, Council Offices, Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD. Please note that an anonymised summary of the consultation may be published.
The consultation is open until midnight on Friday, 30 September 2022.
If you have any questions, please contact Activetravel@westberks.gov.uk
What happens next
If we're granted the powers by the DfT, we estimate that the powers will come into effect in 2023 and appropriate sites will be chosen and publicised. However, this is dependent on the legislation and parliamentary timelines.