Local Councils To Get New Road Traffic Powers From December
The Department for Transport (DFT) has confirmed that from December 2021 local councils will get new powers that could mean drivers get slapped with fines of up to £70 for road traffic offences.
The new council powers to dish out fixed penalties for ‘moving traffic’ offences will be a first for local councils outside of Cardiff and London (who already had some additional powers). Cardiff and London have raked in approaching £60m yearly from motorists with the additional powers.
The new powers will include the ability to hand penalties to motorists who commit offences like performing illegal u-turns, entering a ‘no entry’ one-way street the wrong way and stopping in yellow no stopping zones/box junctions.
Theses new ‘moving traffic’ powers for local councils were previously the responsibility of the police outside of Cardiff and London and should ‘free up’ some police resources, it’s been widely documented that police resources are stretched.
The Government has stated there will be ‘guidance’ for local councils so that the new powers/laws will be applied and used fairly/evenly amid fears they could be abused as purely a cash cow by some councils.
Motoring industry organisations have also raised concerns about the new powers and the temptation for them to be a money spinner for councils at the expense of motorists, it has been suggested that first time offenders should be given a warning letter only.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said “Local authorities will need the tools to manage roads in the way that best serves local needs” she also added that local authorities “will be expected to use these powers to improve connectivity, boost active travel, and increase air quality by reducing congestion”.