|Traffic Management Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 57: Orders of the Greater London Authority changing what are strategic roads
132. This clause enables the Greater London Authority by order to direct that a road should become or cease to be a strategic road. The Greater London Authority may act through the Mayor of London.
Clause 58: London borough councils exercising powers under Highways Act 1980 so as to affect strategic roads
133. This clause amends section 301A of the Highways Act 1980. That section currently provides that a London borough council proposing to carry out highway work which will affect or is likely to affect a GLA road or a road in another London borough must notify TfL, and where the road is in another borough, the council of that borough as well. TfL or another borough may object to the borough undertaking the work. Where TfL or another borough objects, the GLA can give consent to the work after consideration of the objection. This clause amends section 301A so that its provisions apply to strategic roads, as they do to GLA roads or a road in another London borough.
Clause 59: London borough council exercising powers under Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 so as to affect strategic roads
134. This clause amends section 121B of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. That section currently provides that a London borough council proposing to exercise road traffic powers which affect a GLA road or a road in another London borough must notify TfL, and where the road is in another borough, the council of that borough as well. TfL or another borough may object to the borough exercising the power. Where TfL or another borough objects, the GLA can give consent to the work after consideration of the objection. This clause amends section 121B so that its provisions apply to strategic roads, as they do to GLA roads or a road in another London borough.
Clause 60: Enforcement of certain offences under the Highways Act 1980
135. This clause provides for fixed penalties for certain offences under the Highways Act 1980. The offences are listed at Schedule 5 to the Bill, which inserts a new Schedule 22A to the Highways Act 1980. The details of how the system will operate are contained in Schedule 6 to the Bill, which inserts a new Schedule 22A into the Highways Act 1980.
Clause 61: Duty of local highway authority to keep records of objects in highway
136. This clause enables the Secretary of State in England, or the National Assembly in Wales, to make regulations imposing a duty upon a local highway authority to make and keep a record of the location of any object of a description prescribed in the regulations which is placed by that authority in the street. The regulations may also make provision as to the form of the records, and supplementary information to be included in the record, and may require a authorities to make their records available for inspection.
Clause 62: Builders' skips: charge for occupation of the highway for unreasonable period
137. Sections 139 and 140 of the Highways Act 1980 set out arrangements for controlling the placing and removal of builders' skips in the highway
138. Section 74 of NRSWA enables the Secretary of State to make regulations enabling highway authorities to charge undertakers where street works in a maintainable highway overrun a reasonable period. Section 74 was amended (by section 256 of the Transport Act 2000) so as to widen the regulation making power (in particular as regards the service of notices).
139. Schedule 8 to the NRSWA amended the Highways Act 1980 to insert section 140A of the Highways Act 1980. Section 140A has not been brought into force. Section 140A makes provision for similar arrangements to be made in respect of builders' skips as are provided in respect of street works under section 74 of the NRSWA (prior to its amendment by the Transport Act 2000).
140. Clause 62 substitutes a new section 140A into the Highways Act 1980, to provide for a widening of the regulation making powers in respect of builders' skips. The new section 140A is reasonably similar to section 74 of NRSWA as amended by the Transport Act 2000.
141. The new section 140A(1) provides that the Secretary of State may make provision by regulations requiring the owner of a builder's skip deposited on a maintainable highway to pay a charge to the highway authority in cases where the period of the occupation of the highway exceeds such a period as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations and a reasonable period.
142. The new section 140A(2) provides that a reasonable period means a period agreed between the owner of the skip and the authority, or if agreement cannot be reached, a period determined by arbitration.
143. The new section 140A(9) enables regulations made under the inserted section to provide that the authority are to set the rate of charge, up to a prescribed maximum, and that different rates of charge may be set according to such factors as the highway authority considers relevant.
144. The new section 140A(15) enables regulations made under the inserted section to make provision in respect of the application by authorities of the sums paid by way of charges, for the publication and the keeping of accounts of sums paid by way of charges.
145. The new section 140A(16) provides that regulations made under the inserted section may create a level 4 offence (attracting a maximum fine of £2,500) where the relevant person fails to produce a notice or information as required by the regulations.
146. The new section 140A(17) enables the regulations made under the inserted section to prescribe that where a skip is the subject of hiring agreement or hire purchase agreement, of a type that may be prescribed in the regulations, then it is the person in possession of the skip that is subject to the requirements of the regulations.
Clause 63: Builder's skips: charge determined by reference to duration of occupation of the highway
147. Section 74A of NRSWA contains powers enabling regulations to be made by the Secretary of State, to make provision requiring an undertaker executing street works in a maintainable highway to pay to the highway authority a charge, determined, in the prescribed manner, by the reference to the duration of the works. The regulations made by the Secretary of State under the power enable highway authorities to impose on undertakers a charge for each day of street works ("lane rental") as it is commonly known). "Lane rental" powers are being piloted in two local highway authority areas, Middlesbrough and Camden.
148. This clause confers a power, by regulations, to make provision for "lane rental" in relation to the placing of a skip on a maintainable highway.
Clause 64: Scaffolding, building materials and excavations: charge for occupation of the highway for unreasonable period
149. Section 169 of the Highways Act 1980 provides for the control of the erection of scaffolding or similar structures over the highway.
150. Section 171 provides for the control of the placing of builders' material (e.g. bricks) on the highway or the making of temporary excavations in the street.
151. Schedule 8 to the NRSWA amended the Highways Act 1980 to insert section 171A of the Highways Act 1980. Section 171A has not been brought into force. Section 171A makes provision for similar arrangements to be made in respect of the placing of scaffolding, building materials etc. as are provided in respect of street works under section 74 of the NRSWA (before section 74 was amended by the Transport Act 2000).
152. The clause makes the equivalent substitutions to section 171A of the Highways Act 1980 as this Part of the Bill makes to the current section 140A of that Act.
Clause 65: Scaffolding, building materials and excavations: charge determined by reference to duration of occupation of the highway
153. This clause confers the power, by regulations, to make provision for "lane rental" in relation the placing of scaffolding, building materials etc. on a maintainable highway.
Clause 67: Guidance to local highway authorities as to safety precautions
154. As provided for by section 65 of NRSWA, undertakers operating under NRSWA must ensure, among other things, that their works are adequately signed, guarded and lit. The Secretary of State has exercised his power under 65 of NRSWA to issue practical guidance to undertakers as to their responsibilities in this respect. Section 174(1)(a) and (1)(b) of the Highway Act 1980 places similar requirements upon persons executing works in a street (other than persons executing street works). This clause inserts a new power into section 174 of the Highways Act 1980 to enable the Secretary of State to issue guidance to persons and highway authorities in respect of the requirements.
Part 6: Civil Enforcement of Traffic Contraventions
Clauses 68 - 88: Background
155. This Part of the Bill provides a single framework for the civil enforcement by local authorities of parking and waiting restrictions, bus lane restrictions and some moving traffic offences. This Part, and regulations made under this Part, will, for the most part, replace existing provisions in national and London local legislation. This Part will also enable regulations to be made giving authorities outside London civil enforcement powers to cover some moving traffic offences (such as ignoring the rules at box junctions and banned turns) on the basis of camera evidence or the statement of a civil enforcement officer, and giving additional powers in respect of parking enforcement in areas outside London equivalent to those which already exist in London.
156. Regulation of the movement of traffic on roads is intended to ensure safety and to avoid congestion problems. Regulation also enables specific classes of traffic, such as buses, to be given priority in the allocation of road space. Effective enforcement is required to ensure that the regulation of traffic is effective. Increasingly, because of having to focus on their core responsibilities, the police service is not in a position to give high priority to more minor traffic contraventions, such as parking offences. The notification, adjudication and enforcement of such contraventions by civil (as opposed to criminal) bodies provides an alternative way of dealing with such contraventions.
157. Civil enforcement of traffic regulations by local authorities was first made possible in relation to parking and waiting restrictions under the Road Traffic Act 1991. This resulted in the introduction of decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE) across the whole of London in 1994. Since then over 80 authorities in England and Wales outside London have also been given DPE powers through the designation of their areas as permitted parking and special parking areas under the 1991 Act. Civil enforcement of traffic contraventions has been revised and extended in scope in London through London Local Authority Acts. The London Local Authorities Acts of 1995 and 2000 widened the 1991 Act powers for civil enforcement of parking and waiting restrictions in London. Civil enforcement of bus lanes by London authorities, on the basis of camera evidence of contraventions, was made possible by the London Local Authorities Act 1996. The Transport Act 2000 included powers to enable the appropriate national authority to make regulations to enable the civil enforcement of bus lanes generally across England and Wales. The London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 includes powers enabling the civil enforcement of certain moving traffic contraventions by London authorities.
Clause 68: Civil penalties for road traffic contraventions
158. Clause 68 enables the appropriate national authority (i.e. the Secretary of State in England, and in Wales the National Assembly for Wales) to make regulations for the imposition and payment of penalty charges for traffic contraventions that are subject to civil enforcement and which are committed within an area that is designated as a civil enforcement area for the purpose of enforcing those contraventions. The regulations must specify the person or (as we expect will be the case in respect of the London lorry ban) the persons liable for payment of the penalty charge. They must also ensure either that that person (or those persons) will not be exposed to criminal proceedings for an act which is subject to civil enforcement, or that any civil enforcement penalty will be cancelled or refunded if criminal proceedings have been or are instituted. Regulations under this clause may specify exemptions from penalty charges, discounts and surcharges. The regulations may require certain penalty charges to be imposed only on the basis of a record produced by an approved device or a statement made by a civil enforcement officer appointed by an enforcement authority.
Clause 69: Contraventions subject to civil enforcement
159. Clause 69 and Schedule 7 set out the contraventions which are subject to civil enforcement. These are contraventions of parking and waiting restrictions (Part 1), orders establishing bus lanes (Part 2), specified moving traffic offences (Part 4) and the London lorry ban (Part 3). The appropriate national authority can make regulations adding to the lists of parking contraventions and moving traffic contraventions. Contraventions which would lead to licence endorsement may not be added to the list of moving traffic contraventions.
Clause 70: Civil enforcement areas
160. Clause 70 and Schedule 8 establish (and enable the establishment of) geographical areas in which there will be civil enforcement for one or more classes of contraventions that are subject to civil enforcement. These provisions also identify the enforcement authority for such areas. Part 1 of Schedule 8 covers enforcement in London and Part 2 enforcement outside London All areas where decriminalised parking enforcement has been introduced under the Road Traffic Act 1991 will become civil enforcement areas for parking contraventions. The whole of Greater London will be a civil enforcement area for contraventions relating to parking places (see paragraph 2 of Schedule 7). The whole of London will also be a civil enforcement area for bus lane contraventions. A London local authority or Transport for London may declare its own area to be a civil enforcement area for moving traffic contraventions, and the Secretary of State may make an order, on the application of a London local authority, designating all or part of that authority's area to be a civil enforcement area for parking contraventions within paragraph 3 of Schedule 7. Outside London the appropriate national authority will be able by order to designate additional local authority areas as civil enforcement areas for enforcement in respect of parking or (in existing civil enforcement areas for parking) bus lane or moving traffic contraventions.
Clause 71: Power to require authority to apply for civil enforcement powers
161. Clause 71 gives the appropriate national authority a reserve power to give notice to a local authority outside Greater London to apply under the provisions of paragraph 8 of Schedule 8 for designation of the whole or part of its area as a civil enforcement area for parking contraventions. Such a notice must be preceded by a notification to the authority and the appropriate chief officer of police that the giving of such a notice is being contemplated to enable them to make representations to the national authority. The national authority must take such representations into account in deciding whether to give a notice to apply. The terms of a notice to apply may subsequently be modified by agreement between the national authority and the local authority.
Clause 72: Civil enforcement officers
162. Clause 72 enables the appointment of civil enforcement officers by authorities undertaking the civil enforcement of traffic contraventions. It provides that a parking attendant appointed under section 63A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 is a civil enforcement officer in relation to parking contraventions and may also be appointed as a civil enforcement officer in relation to other road traffic contraventions subject to civil enforcement in the area of the local authority concerned.
Clause 73: Setting the level of penalty charges
163. Clause 73 provides that the level of penalty charges for traffic contraventions (including discounts or surcharges to encourage payment), charges for the removal, storage and disposal of illegally parked vehicles, or charges for the release from an immobilisation device shall be set in accordance with the arrangements detailed in Schedule 9. Part 1 of that Schedule provides for charges in London to be set by the London local authorities and Transport for London and submitted to the Mayor for his approval. If Transport for London or the London local authorities fail to set the charges, or if the Mayor does not approve the levels of charges set by the London local authorities, the charges are set by the Mayor. The Schedule gives the Secretary of State a reserve power to intervene if he thinks any or all of the charges approved or set by the Mayor are excessive, and it enables him by regulations to set the level of charges. Part 2 of the Schedule provides for charges outside London to be set by each enforcement authority taking account of guidance given by the appropriate national authority.
Clause 74: Notification of penalty charges
164. Clause 74 enables regulations to be made by the Lord Chancellor for the notification of penalty charges in relation to traffic contraventions subject to civil enforcement. In the case of a parking contravention the regulations may provide for the penalty charge notice to be fixed to the vehicle, given to the person appearing to be in charge of it, or given in some other manner as prescribed, for example by post. Notification of a penalty charge in respect of traffic contraventions involving moving vehicles may be given in such manner as may be prescribed; however, regulations made under this clause may not confer a power to stop vehicles. The regulations may create criminal offences. For example, regulations are expected to create an offence of unauthorised interference with a penalty charge notice fixed to a vehicle, which we expect will be punishable by a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum fine of £500). The regulations are also expected to enable a local authority to require by notice an operator of goods vehicles to provide the name and address of the person whose driving contravened the London lorry ban (thus replicating the effect of section 5 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003). We expect regulations to make the giving of false information in respect of such a notice to be punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum fine of £5000).
Clause 75: Immobilisation of vehicle where penalty charge is payable
165. Immobilisation of vehicles using wheel clamps is an additional sanction used by some enforcement authorities to deter illegal parking. Clause 75 provides for regulations to be made for or in connection with the immobilisation of illegally parked vehicles and the release of such vehicles may only be on payment of the penalty charge imposed for it being illegally parked, a release fee, and any unpaid penalty charges previously incurred by the vehicle. The regulations may provide for a notice to be fixed to the vehicle warning that it has been immobilised, and explaining both how to secure its release and that the notice should not be interfered with except under the authority of the owner or person in charge of the vehicle or the enforcement authority. Regulations may also provide that a vehicle may only be released under the direction of a person authorised by the enforcement authority and that any unauthorised attempt to release a vehicle shall be an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum of £1000). The regulations must provide that a vehicle shall not be immobilised if not more than 15 minutes have elapsed since the end of a period of paid for parking, nor if it displays a disabled person's badge (a "blue badge"). However, the regulations will make it an offence punishable by a fine, not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, if a person inappropriately uses a blue badge and as a result the vehicle in question may not be immobilised.
Clause 76: Representations and appeals
166. Clause 76 enables regulations to be made entitling the person liable for payment of a penalty charge or who secures the release of a vehicle from an immobilisation device to make representations to the enforcement authority and to appeal to an independent adjudicator if his representations are not accepted. The regulations may require these rights to be notified to the appropriate person when a penalty charge is issued or the person's vehicle is released from an immobilisation device. The regulations may make such provisions as necessary in relation to representations and appeals, including the circumstances in which there is a right of appeal to an adjudicator. The regulations may also make it an offence not to attend a hearing before an adjudicator or to fail to provide certain documents, and these offences will be punishable by a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum of £500). Similarly, the regulations may make it an offence to deliberately or recklessly make false representations in respect of penalty charges, which offence will be punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum of £5,000). Regulations may authorise an adjudicator to award costs against a party to an adjudication in such circumstances as may be specified.
Clause 77: Adjudicators
167. The European Convention on Human Rights (as incorporated in domestic law by the Human Rights Act 1998) requires adjudication of a penalty charge to be by an independent and impartial tribunal. Clause 77 provides for the appointment of adjudicators to hear appeals by persons who are or may be liable to pay penalty charges for traffic contraventions. It specifies the legal qualifications of adjudicators and limits the grounds for removal from office of an adjudicator. The regulations must provide for adjudicators to be appointed by the relevant enforcement authorities with the consent of the Lord Chancellor. The regulations must also require that a decision not to re-appoint an adjudicator or to remove him from office requires the consent of the Lord Chancellor. Enforcement authorities will be responsible for providing accommodation and administrative support for adjudicators, and setting their terms of work and for their remuneration. Adjudicators will be required by regulations to make an annual report to the enforcement authorities and those authorities in turn will be required to make an annual report to the Lord Chancellor on the discharge by the adjudicators of their functions. The regulations relating to the appointment of adjudicators may make transitional provisions treating adjudicators already appointed for the purpose of hearing appeals, in the case of parking under section 73 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 or in the case of bus lane contraventions under section 144 of the Transport Act 2000, as if they had been appointed under the Bill. Such regulations may also continue in force existing arrangements for their accommodation, administrative support and fees. In practice this will mean adjudication continuing to be undertaken by bodies corresponding to the London Parking and Traffic Appeals Service, in London, and the National Parking Adjudication Service, outside London. Both were originally constituted as adjudication bodies for the purpose of decriminalised parking enforcement.
Clause 78: Enforcement of penalty charges
168. It is necessary to have the ability to enforce payment of penalty charges. The first step to induce payment will be the imposition of a surcharge on the original penalty. If this does not secure payment then an enforcement model (which is expected substantially to replicate by regulations the procedure under the Road Traffic Act 1991) will be followed. The procedure is for unpaid penalty charges to be registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) - part of the Northampton County Court - and enforced as a county court debt, if the TEC so orders. The regulations are expected to provide that if no payment is made, and no statutory declaration disclaiming responsibility is received, the enforcement authority may seek to enforce payment by execution by a certificated bailiff. The regulations may create an offence, punishable by a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale (i.e. a maximum of £5000), and we expect regulations to create an offence of making a false statutory declaration to avoid enforcement. Provision is made for continuing in force existing provisions in respect of parking fines incurred under the 1991 Act and regulations in connection with the execution of warrants of execution by bailiffs.
Clause 79: Certificated bailiffs
169. Clause 79 re-enacts in substance the provisions of section 78 of the Road Traffic Act 1991. It provides for the Lord Chancellor to make regulations which will control the certification of bailiffs and the execution of warrants by bailiffs. Regulations in respect of bailiffs currently in existence by virtue of section 78 will continue in force under this clause.
Clause 80: Designation of special enforcement areas
170. This clause and Schedule 10 enable the Secretary of State, with respect to London, on the application of a London local authority or Transport for London to designate the whole or part of its area as a special enforcement area (SEA) provided it is within or co-extensive with a civil enforcement area for parking contraventions designated under paragraph 2 of Schedule 8. An order made by the Secretary of State designating a special parking area in London under section 76 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 will have effect as an order made under Schedule 10 designating the area as a SEA. However, the nature of any such area will change to become an area in which forms of conduct are specified as contraventions peculiar to that area (as per the approach of the 1991 Act) but (unlike the approach of the 1991 Act) not an area in which, by definition, there will be civil enforcement of those or other contraventions.
171. Paragraph 2 of Schedule 10 preserves the ability of the Mayor of London under section 76A of the Road Traffic Act 1991 to vary an order designating a SEA with the consent of the relevant London authority for every road that may be added or removed from the area. The relevant London authority is, as regards GLA roads, Transport for London, and as regards roads other than GLA roads, the London local authority in whose area the road is situated. Orders made by the Mayor under section 76A(1) or (3)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1991 prior to the coming into force of this clause shall have effect as if made under paragraph 2 of Schedule 10.
172. Paragraph 3 of Schedule 10 enables the appropriate national authority to designate SEAs outside Greater London on the application of an authority specified in paragraph 3(3). An order designating a special parking area outside Greater London made under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 3 to the Road Traffic Act 1991 will continue to have effect as an order made under paragraph 3 of Schedule 10 designating the area as an SEA.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2003||Prepared: 15 December 2003|