Bedford Borough Council moves to take on traffic enforcement powers

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Bedford Borough Council says they’re considering taking on traffic enforcement powers after a change in the Traffic Management Act (2022).

The Act gives local authorities the option to take on powers that will allow them to enforce against ‘moving traffic offences’, such as going the wrong way on one-way streets, no U-turns, no left/right turns, no entry, box junctions, cars driving in cycle lanes.

At present, powers to enforce these are currently only available to the Police.

The decision to give the local councils the chance to apply for these powers has been met with criticism by some.

Speaking to Highways Magazine, the president of The AA Edmund King said: “The main concern we have is if there is, for example, a yellow box junction that is generating tens of thousands of pounds in fines every year, then there is something wrong with that junction.

“No one drives into the junction saying they are happy to pay the fine. If a certain amount of fines are generated from a junction there should be an obligation on the local authority to review the design.”

Mr King added that he believes some councils may use the fines as a money earner, instead of considering why offences keep happening.

“Appeals reveal regular flaws in enforcement that are too often ignored by council enforcers. Why? Because the councils know the majority of drivers will pay up anyway and stuff town hall coffers with easy money…

“…the object of enforcement is to get road users to understand and comply with directions and restrictions – with the deterrence of fines if they deliberately ignore them,” he said.

They say the council’s Parking Services Team would carry out this additonal enforcement work, as part of their current duties which includes enforcing illegal and dangerous parking, and the misuse of bus lanes.

Consultation

Bedford Borough Council would like to hear from local people about the plans and have set up a consultation to gather opinions.

You can see the full list of offences, for further information and to have your say, at bedford.gov.uk/mtoconsultation.

Cllr Charles Royden (Lib Dems, Brickhill), Portfolio Holder for Highways said: “With the powers the Council already has, our team works hard to keep our roads safe. The proposed further powers to enforce against ‘moving traffic offences’ would complement this work and help us tackle that minority of irresponsible drivers.”

You can also give your views by emailing highway.consultations@bedford.gov.uk or by writing to Traffic Operations, Room 109, Borough Hall, Cauldwell Street Bedford MK42 9AP.

Hard copies of the consultation are also available on request via the Council’s Highways Helpdesk on 01234 718003.

The consultation closes on 18 March 2022.

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