The government has announced that local authorities outside of London and Wales can adopt moving traffic enforcement powers under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, currently enforced by the Police.
We (Surrey County Council) intend to apply to the Department for Transport (DfT) for permission to start enforcement at two specific points on Dennis Roundabout, Guildford, and are starting a six- week consultation from the beginning of April 2022 to ask for your opinion on our plans to apply these powers there.
Moving traffic restrictions are currently enforced by the Police, but we are applying to adopt these powers to help us to improve how we fulfil our statutory duty to manage traffic on the highway, improve safety for all road users and reduce congestion.
Background and legislation
The Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) introduced civil enforcement of traffic offences in England and Wales (as opposed to enforcement by the police under criminal law).
Part 6 of the Act allows local authorities (who are the Traffic Authority) to apply for powers to enforce contraventions such as parking and moving traffic offences, although up until now, authorities outside London could only apply for powers relating to parking enforcement.
This year, the Department for Transport (DfT) will allow councils in England and Wales to apply for new powers to carry out Moving Traffic Enforcement (MTE).
This means traffic enforcement cameras could be used to enforce a variety of highway restrictions on Surrey roads to help improve safety and reduce congestion. They could also be a key tool in the development of our new transport strategies (LTP4) aimed at improving infrastructure for buses, cycles and pedestrians.
For full details, please read the report we sent to Cabinet in March 2022 (PDF).
What are moving traffic restrictions and how are they currently enforced?
Moving traffic restrictions are designated by traffic signs and road markings, such as making banned turns, stopping in yellow box junctions, driving the wrong way down one-way streets and driving in recognised cycle lanes.
The annex to our recent cabinet report (PDF) shows a list of the traffic signs which are subject to civil enforcement.
Moving traffic enforcement powers aim to stop drivers from committing such offences, as vehicles that ignore them create potential dangers to both pedestrians and other road users.
Currently outside of London and Wales, only the Police can enforce these restrictions using fixed penalty notices, resulting in fines and/or driving licence endorsement points where they observe a contravention taking place. While the Police currently enforce these powers, it is not a primary concern for them due to resourcing priorities.
Currently, we are only looking to enforce against yellow box junction contraventions at two specific locations on Dennis Roundabout, Guildford.
Why we want to take on enforcement powers in Surrey
We believe it will enable the council to help achieve some of its Community Vision 2030 objectives, including:
- Residents live in clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities; and
- Journeys across the county are easier, more predictable and safer.
Specifically, traffic enforcement cameras provide an option to make travel and transportation schemes more effective and could be a key tool in helping deliver transportation and environmental objectives to reduce congestion and improve facilities for buses, cycles and pedestrians, particularly vulnerable road users.
The proposed locations
We propose to enforce the two sets of yellow box junctions which can be found on Dennis Roundabout, Guildford after the approaches to the roundabout from Surrey Way and Midleton Road (A25).
We recognise that there will be other locations where existing moving traffic restrictions may also benefit from further evaluation and possible future enforcement. However, our priority for this consultation is to focus on locations that allow us to meet the government's 20 May 2022 deadline to apply for the powers.
Why we selected these locations
Using the list of roads which are subject to Lane Rental restrictions (which is restricted to 5% of the busiest routes in Surrey), we narrowed down the locations to those where there are yellow box junctions and recorded the number of contraventions across a 7 day period.
The number of contraventions on Dennis Roundabout, Guildford accounted for 35% of all the contraventions recorded, making it stand out as the clear priority.
Yellow box markings at junctions help keep the traffic flowing. When vehicles stop on the yellow box, they can block the junction for traffic moving from other directions and so increase congestion and associated vehicle emissions.
What this means for you
We are not proposing to add any additional moving traffic restrictions to those that are already in place, and drivers that continue to comply with the restrictions at each location will not be at risk of enforcement action.
It is expected the DfT will stipulate that warning notices must be sent for a period of six months from the installation of a camera, when motorists commit an offence for the first time. Subsequent offences by the same vehicle/keeper would receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), which is to be set at £70 (reduced to £35 if paid early).
Have your say
We would like to hear your views about the proposed traffic camera enforcement for yellow boxes on Dennis Roundabout, Guildford. The consultation will run from Friday 1 April to Friday 13 May 2022, and can be found using the link below.
Traffic camera enforcement consultation survey (opens on Friday 1 April)