Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making executive approved plans for the council to take on the enforcement of moving traffic offences at a meeting last night (21 March).
The council applied to the Department for Transport last month seeking for powers to enforce on moving traffic offenses, following consultation last year showing 55 per cent of respondents were in favour of it taking on these powers. Neighbouring authorities Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire District Council have already started rolling out enforcement, as well as other across the UK.
Moving traffic offences are currently only enforceable by police. If the council’s application is successful, it could issue penalty charge notices to those who commit certain specified moving traffic offences.
Moving traffic offences that would be enforceable under the new powers include driving through a ‘No Entry’ sign, driving on routes that are for buses and taxis only, and turning left or right when instructed not to. You can see a full list of the moving traffic offences the council could enforce in the Traffic Management Act.
Locations for enforcement would be prioritised based on whether enforcing moving traffic offences would make the area safer and reduce congestion, with eleven initial locations identified as:
- Broad Street, Wokingham, at the junction with Rose Street: Banned right turn
- Barkham Road rail crossing, Wokingham, at the junction with Oxford Road: Banned right turn
- Station Road, Wokingham, at the junction with Station Approach: Banned right turn
- Wellington Road, Wokingham: Ahead only
- Gipsy Lane, Wokingham: Weight restriction
- Murdoch Road, Wokingham: Keep left
- Goatley Way, Wokingham: One-way street
- Milton Road, Wokingham: Vehicles prohibited except buses
- Easthampstead Road, Wokingham: Yellow box junction
- Hyde End Lane, Spencers Wood, at the junction with Fullbrook Road: Buses only
- Whitlock Avenue, Wokingham: Banned right turn
Safer, accessible and reduce congestion
If the council's application to the Department for Transport for these powers is successful, it would allow the council to increase the enforcement work that it already undertakes (such as enforcing parking violations) to make our roads safer, accessible and reduce congestion.
Enforcement would mainly use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, with penalty charge notices (PCN) sent to the registered keeper of offending vehicles.
Unlike funds raised by speed camera enforcement, which goes to central government, the council would keep funds raised through this enforcement, but it would only be spent on covering the costs of the programme and ensuring all enforcement is in line with meeting the programmes objectives. Any surplus would be restricted to public transport, highway and environmental improvements.
The council sees this as a step forward as these restrictions are enforceable now by the police but, if its application is successful, it can begin work right away on the enforcement programme, which will help make the borough's roads safer and reduce congestion.
It had lots of positive feedback in the consultation but there were some concerns raised about whether this was just a 'money-making scheme'. It wants to reassure people that it is bound by Department for Transport rules which say that any surplus income can only be spent on improvements to public transport, highways and the environment.
The council expects to find out the results of their application in the summer and will keep residents up to date on future plans.
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