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Local authorities could soon be handed power to prosecute drivers for minor offences

Sam Dickerson

20 Jan 2021

Move by MPs would empower local councils to enforce civil penalties for minor driving offences.

British MPs are reportedly considering devolving minor traffic offence powers to local authorities in a move that would bring the whole of England in line with London.

Offences that would be handled by local councils would include driving in cycle lanes, failing to adhere to one-way systems and no-entry signs, or temporarily stopping in yellow-box junctions, with some of these violations costing the unlucky motorist in question up to £130.

The controversial decision, using ANPR cameras to catch motorists, is currently being debated between MPs in London, where councils use the 'all-seeing' cameras to issue more than a million £130 penalty notices every year, according to the RAC.

As it stands, only local authorities in London and Cardiff can issue penalty notices for moving traffic offences, but elsewhere in the UK, these types of contraventions are dealt with by the police.

Luckily for drivers, the offences do not carry any points as they are classified as 'minor' infringements.

But, it could be a while before the penalty-issuing shake-up is enforced.

When asked in the House of Commons about the progress in amending the Traffic Management Act 2004 to cover the rest of the UK, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said it will be months before local authorities are given the go-ahead to start implementing their own penalty system.

"The moving traffic enforcement powers under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 require a set of statutory instruments to be made covering enforcement, level of penalties, financial provisions, approved devices, adjudication and representations and appeals," she told the House.

"This will take several months to bring into force, after which those local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers can apply for a designation order for moving traffic enforcement. 

"Statutory guidance is being developed for local authorities on how to use the powers, including publicising their introduction in advance, to ensure that enforcement is carried out fairly," Maclean added.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils nationwide, told the RAC that they need the powers because police have “largely ceased to enforce moving traffic offences”.

The RAC reported that the money generated from the fines will reportedly be used to fund traffic-reducing measures throughout the UK.

Sam Dickerson

20 Jan 2021

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