England's Economic Heartland is to make the case to Government for local transport authorities in the region to be given powers to better manage traffic and HGV movements, in order to improve safety and reduce congestion.
The powers relate to Part Six of the Traffic Management Act, which to date have only been activated in London. Enacting them for the local authorities within the Heartland region – stretching from Swindon to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire to Hertfordshire - would allow councils to issue penalty notices for 'moving traffic' violations. These include disregarding one-way systems and box junction markings, failing to give priority to oncoming traffic and breaching weight restrictions for HGVs.
Since the Traffic Management Act's introduction in 2004, councils have repeatedly called on successive governments to grant them full enforcement powers.
Local authorities are now coming together and using EEH – the region's Sub-national Transport Body – to make their collective case to Government.
A national survey completed by the Local Government Association last year found 90% of councils would consider using the powers if they were made available – with improving safety and reducing congestion cited as the major reasons for using them.
On Friday, England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum, which includes elected cabinet members and leaders from the local transport authorities in the region, agreed that EEH should prepare a formal request to the Department for Transport for the powers to be given to their respective councils.
Chair of the Strategic Transport Forum, Mayor Dave Hodgson, said: "Currently, there is a frustrating lack of deterrent for motorists who break the rules of the road, putting others in danger and causing unnecessary delays.
"Giving local authorities the powers to enforce traffic regulations will help improve safety and ease congestion for everyone. It would allow locally accountable enforcement to take place even where roads police resources are limited. Activating powers across the region also ensures consistency of approach across a wide area – which we understand is an important issue for the Department for Transport."
He added: "This is another example of how England's Economic Heartland is adding value for its local authority partners, who are coming together and speaking with one powerful voice on an issue of common interest."
EEH will now work with its local authority partners to produce an evidence-based case to present to DfT. Subject to approval by the Forum, it is expected that the case will form an important addition to a proposed 'concordat' between England's Economic Heartland and the Department for Transport.