Agenda item

Moving Traffic Enforcement

Minutes:

3.1       The Chair invited Andy Burford, Parking Procurement & Contract Manager, to present this item. The report was taken as read and the following points highlighted:

·         In May 2022 the Department of Transport (DfT) announced that English authorities, outside of London, would be given powers to enforce Moving Traffic Contraventions (MTC) such as weight limits, banned turns, mandatory cycle lanes, yellow box junctions, one-way streets etc. (a full list is available in Appendix A of the report).

·         Such powers would enable authorities to continue to work towards: improving road safety, cutting congestion, making public transport more efficient and supporting active travel.

·         In September 2022, GCC’s Cabinet agreed proposals to apply for a Designation Order to enforce moving traffic contraventions  and to commence an extensive public consultation exercise.

·         The public consultation was supportive of the council applying for powers to enforce moving traffic contraventions with 75% of 128 respondents supporting the approach. The council submitted its application to the DfT to apply for powers and has outlined 5 initial locations where it wishes to enforce (these locations are outlined at 2.1 of the report). A decision from Government in regards granting the Designation Order is expected in June 2023.

·         ANPR surveys were initially carried out at 19 locations around the country, and the 5 that were selected showed a number of contraventions that would make enforcement worthwhile.

·         This exercise is not about the council making money from enforcement, it is about improving safety on the highway and any income stream generated through enforcement mechanisms would be used to cover the back-office charges, and any surplus reinvested in the service, or named areas of improvement as outlined in the legislation

·         The next steps were summarised under point 5 of the report.

 

3.2       It was explained that the reason for central government  granting powers to local authorities to enforce moving traffic contraventions was to reduce the pressure on local police forces, although the police would retain the power to prosecute on such offences, and any such prosecution would take priority over any action GCC’s takes.

3.3       In selecting the 5 locations specified, council officers worked with the Local Highway Managers and Stagecoach representatives to identify suitable locations for enforcement based on their knowledge and observations. The initial 5 locations are Phase 1 of location selection. Officers have captured a number of other location suggestions via the public consultation and would continue to welcome suggestions from members and officers going forward.

3.4       A member queried how Gloucestershire would avoid issues that can occur with ANPR enforcement. An example was given of another authority issuing a fine for a vehicle that was on the back of tow truck going through an air quality restricted zone. Officers were aware that this would be a very new way of working which would need to be supported with adequate training for officers and contractors. There will be a discretionary policy in place to ensure fines issued incorrectly could be cancelled, following review.

3.5       There was a discussion around the need to explore legalities of data sharing with district licensing departments via bodies such as the Gloucestershire Licensing Officers Group (GLOG), if it were in the public interest to do so. An example was given of a taxi driver contracted to carry out home to school transport for vulnerable children who was captured on GCC’s ANPR committing a moving traffic contravention. It was agreed that this discussion would be continued offline with GLOG and the council’s Information Management team.

3.6       A member shared a concern that a number of private hire drivers were receiving repeated enforcement fines for driving in bus lanes. It was advised that GCC were completely reliant on data being shared from district authorities to ensure licensed vehicles were not fined.

3.7       Officers confirmed that they would be working with the communications team to ensure as much information sharing with the public on go live dates and new enforcement sites as possible. Prior to enforcement commencing at any new location there must be a 6-week consultation period, plus a 6-month warning notice period for first offences after commencement.

3.8       A member raised a specific contravention issue in their area that was more time specific, mainly occurring during evening and weekends, and whether this would fit the viability criteria for a scheme. It was advised that this issue related to parking enforcement, rather than the new moving traffic powers. An action was taken to visit and review this issue with the member and discuss potential options.

ACTION:        Jason Humm

3.9       There was a discussion around the recent Highway Code changes which requires drivers to give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road, and whether moving traffic powers could help enforce this rule. Unfortunately, this change had been publicised very little nationally, with many drivers being unaware. This change to the Highway Code is outside the scope of moving traffic enforcement and therefore the authority has no powers to enforce but officers agreed to explore if there are any solutions to this issue.

ACTION:        Andy Burford

3.10     It was advised that the Government’s view of moving traffic enforcement powers was to use education, engineering, and enforcement as the three tools to manage contraventions on the road. If one of the initial 5 enforcement locations did not see a reduction of PCNs issued in 6 months, it would be clear there was something else wrong and enforcement wasn’t the answer. If contraventions had reduced significantly, GCC would look to move enforcement equipment to a new location.

Supporting documents: