Following a decision today (22 July), Herefordshire Council will submit an application to the Department for Transport (DfT) for new moving traffic enforcement (MTE) powers.
If successful, the new powers would be in place by the end of 2022, and would enable the council to carry out some enforcement of specified moving traffic offences, helping to improve safety and congestion, and encourage active travel.
In July 2020, Government announced plans to improve cycling and walking uptake across the country in Gear change. As part of this strategy, the Department for Transport (DfT) have begun the process to enable new regulations to provide for Local Authorities to enforce moving traffic contraventions.
Enforcement will be provided through approved camera devices that can detect traffic offences, where a trained Civil Enforcement Officer will then administer a Penalty Charge Notice when appropriate. Enforcement for the most serious offences will still be retained by the police.
A public consultation was carried out between 3 March and 15 April 2022, showing strong support for more effective enforcement, particularly near schools.
The two initial sites are at Commercial Road and East Street, and will improve safety, congestion and air quality, and stop the high numbers of vehicles using East Street to rat run. The proposed sites are based on the history of complaints or incidents in the vicinity, and the Council plans to expand to new sites next year.
Cllr John Harrington, Cabinet member for Infrastructure and Transport, said: “The change in national law now permits Local Authorities to enforce breaches of laws and regulations that previously the police were expected to enforce. The intention with any enforcement is to promote compliance with existing restrictions, and the concept behind doing this with cameras is to explore areas in the county where compliance in the past has not been as effective as we would have liked.
“We need to be sensible about how to enforce transgressions, which residents throughout the county regularly express their dissatisfaction over. Let’s not forget that people who will get fined are breaking the law or contravening regulations, and a large proportion of those who do it will do so repeatedly because there is no or minimal police enforcement. The change in national law allows us as a Council to step up and do that.
“In the case of moving traffic contraventions such as weight limit breaches or going the wrong way down a one way street, for example, enforcement powers were previously held by the police and an officer would need to witness a driver breaking the rules, stop the vehicle, establish who is driving, and serve them a Fixed Penalty Notice. This process requires investment and resource which, quite frankly, our police forces don’t have anymore.
“The change in the regulations announced by the UK Government will mean that councils will be able to deal with these matters in the same way that it does parking, with the registered owner being held liable and notified via the post. Due to this change, cameras would then become the most effective tool to identify contraventions, ensure maximum compliance and promote safety on our roads, which is ultimately the aim.
“The issuing of penalties will not be automated - all penalties will be reviewed by a trained enforcement officer prior to issue, and there will be an appeals process in place just as there is with parking.”
More information can be found in the decision paper.