secretary Alistair Darling.
The Traffic Management Bill will give the Highways Agency and local
responsibilities to keep roads clear, minimise the disruption caused
by road works, and keep traffic moving.
Announcing the legislation, Alistair Darling said: 'The Traffic
Management Bill will give the Highways Agency and councils powers
and a duty to keep roads clear and traffic moving. They will now
have to focus more sharply on tackling causes of congestion and
'New powers for councils to manage when and where street works are
carried out will put an end to congestion caused by poorly planned
and lengthy works. Neighbouring authorities will be required to work
together to keep traffic flowing across the network.
'The Highways Agency will get powers to manage motorway incidents
which will mean motorists caught in traffic due to road accidents or
obstructions should benefit from a more targeted and faster clear-up
response. Traffic officers will be on scene following road incidents
to work with police to clear the road as quickly as possible. These
new powers, as well as new traffic enforcement provisions for
councils will also free up police time, allowing them to concentrate
on their other priorities.'
The Bill contains five key elements:
Management of motorway incidents
- The Highways Agency uniformed jam buster patrols will take over
responsibility from the police for getting traffic moving after road
incidents or breakdowns.
- The secretary of state will establish regional control centres to
monitor and manage traffic on the network.
- Each local authority will appoint a traffic manager responsible
for keeping traffic moving.
- Should an authority fail in this task, a traffic director
appointed by the secretary of state, could take over traffic
management in the authority.
Control of street works
- Councils will be given greater control over when and where utility
companies carry out street works to minimise disruption. They will
have powers to specify which route road works should follow and
decide what day of the week and at what times works can be carried
- They will be given new powers to prevent roads from being dug up
repeatedly by banning works on a particular road until a specified
date. Any utility company wanting to carry out street works will be
required to apply for a permit to do so.
- Utility companies failing to repair a road properly will face
fines of up to £5,000 and be required to rectify previous poor work.
Civil enforcement of driving and parking offences
- Local authorities will take over certain traffic enforcement roles
from the police, such as enforcing box junction rules.
- Parking enforcement powers will also be strengthened. Government
can direct a local authority to apply for greater parking enforcement
The Bill will bring significant benefits to the capital:
- TfL will co-ordinate traffic management between boroughs and other
traffic authorities. The Bill will allow for the operation of a
single London-wide permit scheme covering all types of works in the
- Where boroughs fail, a traffic director could be appointed to
- The Bill extends the network of roads over which TfL may have
1. Provisions for the creation of the Highways Ag ency's traffic
officer service have been developed in response to a review of roles
and responsibilities in managing the strategic road network,
commissioned jointly by the Highways Agency and the Association of
Chief Police Officers. That report (available herewas published in June 2003, and
detailed the case for transferring a range of traffic management
tasks from the police to the Highways Agency.
4. Provisions in the Bill to improve controls over works in the
street amend the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and the Highways
Act 1980, under which most of the present regime exists. Most of the
details of the new arrangements will be set out in regulations once
the Bill becomes law.
5. Powers to charge utility companies 'lane rental', for each day of
disruption that their works cause, already exist under the Transport
Act 2000. The Traffic Management Bill does not alter these powers,
other than to provide that they can be extended to cover skips,
scaffolding and building materials when they occupy the highway.
6. The powers for greater civil enforcement of parking and moving
traffic offences exist already in London under the London Local
Authorities Act 2000, and the London Local Authorities and Transport
for London Act 2003. This Bill will extend those powers to cover the
rest of England and Wales.