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TRAFFIC BILL CAN FREE UP POLICE TIME TO TACKLE CRIME

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The Traffic Management Bill, published today*, will allow the government to confront the problem of congested roads...
The Traffic Management Bill, published today*, will allow the government to confront the problem of congested roads with new vigour.

And measures contained within the Bill could also free up police officers to concentrate on crime in Wales.

Wales Office minister Don Touhig, whose ministerial responsibilities include transport, said: 'The Traffic Management Bill will give the National Assembly the power to create new traffic officers if they so wish. These officers would sort out any incidents and keep traffic moving - giving full-time police officers the chance to concentrate on other duties.

'Additional responsibilities for managing traffic on trunk roads will transfer from the police to the Assembly in Wales, allowing quicker response times to incidents and the management of programmed highway events such as the passage of abnormal loads.

'The Assembly will have the power to direct local authorities to take up civil enforcement powers transferred from the police, enabling them to cover a number of moving traffic offences.

'Local highway authorities will appoint traffic network managers whose role will be to keep traffic moving and to provide a single point of accountability.

'Another problem on our roads will also be addressed with a tightened regulatory framework over utility companies digging up streets. The Bill will allow permit schemes to be created so that works are only carried out at specific times. The level of fines payable by utility companies for offences will also be raised.

'By reducing congestion we make journeys safer and more reliable as well as reducing pollution and boosting the efficiency of our economy. Today's Traffic Management Bill is a big step in the right direction of making the best possible use of the road space we have.'

* See LGCnet.

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