|Traffic Management Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Clause 81: Prohibition of double parking etc.
173. Parking a vehicle adjacent to another parked vehicle or at some distance away from the kerbside has the potential to obstruct the flow of other traffic. Within an SEA, clause 81 makes parking a vehicle such that no part of it is within 50 centimetres of the edge of the carriageway a traffic contravention for which a penalty charge may be issued. A number of exceptions are set out in subsections (2) to (5), e.g. for the emergency services and for loading and unloading in certain circumstances. There is no contravention if, for example, a vehicle is prevented from proceeding due to circumstances beyond the driver's control.
Clause 82: Prohibition of parking at dropped footways
174. Dropping the level of the footway or verge to the level of the carriageway assists pedestrians crossing a road and vehicles crossing a footway or verge in order to access an off -road parking place. Clause 82 makes parking a vehicle within a SEA in Greater London adjacent to a dropped footway or verge a traffic contravention for which a penalty charge may be issued. A number of exceptions are set out in subsections (2) to (6), e.g. for the emergency services and for loading and unloading in certain circumstances. There is no contravention if, for example, a vehicle is prevented from proceeding due to circumstances beyond the control of the driver. This provision is designed to preserve the prohibition of parking adjacent to a dropped footway or verge recently introduced in London under section 14 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003.
Clause 83: Financial provisions
175. Regulations under clause 83 will provide for the keeping of accounts in respect of the income and expenditure from each form of civil enforcement (i.e. parking contraventions, bus lane contraventions and moving vehicle contraventions). Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (which would be amended in accordance with clause 89) provides for how surpluses generated in respect of parking charges may be applied and regulations will provide, with modification, that section 55 will apply in respect of any surpluses (which may or may not arise) from the further forms of civil enforcement.
Clause 84: Regulations and orders
176. Clause 84 specifies the cases for which regulations and orders may be made under Part 6 of the Bill.
Clause 85: Application to Crown and visiting forces
177. Clause 85 provides that the provisions of Part 6 shall not apply to vehicles being used for national naval, military or airforce purposes or vehicles similarly being used by visiting forces, but that they do apply to registered vehicles being used in the public service of the Crown and vehicles driven by persons in the public service of the Crown. The provisions of Part 6 of the Bill do not enable civil enforcement of traffic contraventions on Crown roads unless an order to that effect has been made. Section 131 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 enables the Secretary of State, with the consent of the appropriate Crown authority, to direct by order that a road traffic enactment (which definition would include the Traffic Management Bill) shall apply to Crown roads.
Clause 86: Consequential amendments and repeals
178. As regulations are made under the powers conferred by Part 6 of the Bill they will replace existing provisions contained in the Road Traffic Act 1991, the Transport Act 2000 and various London Local Authorities Acts. Clause 86 and Schedule 11 to the Bill make provision for consequential amendments to existing legislation and repeals of existing legislation as regulations are brought into force under this Bill.
Part 7: Miscellaneous and General
Clause 89: Application of surplus income from parking places
179. Use of surplus income from parking charges and penalty charges is governed by section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Once the need for provision of off-street parking facilities and to make good deficits to central funding has been met, use of surpluses is currently confined to the provision of public transport services or to road improvements. This clause amends section 55 to add to that list the additional purpose of using surplus income to fund local environmental improvements. "Environmental improvement" is defined in a broad sense to encompass recreational or scenic improvements. It also amends section 55 to enable the appropriate national authority to make regulations specifying classes or descriptions of authorities, or particular authorities (for example those which may be designated under section 99 of the Local Government Act 2003 as high-performing authorities), as having complete freedom in the way they spend surplus parking income once the needs of parking provision have been considered.
Clause 90: Wales
180. This clause provides that references in Schedule 1 to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 ("the Order"), to the Highways Act 1980, the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, are to be read as references to those Acts as amended by the Bill. The Order provides for the transfer of the certain functions to the National Assembly for Wales.
Clause 91: Financial provision
181. This clause makes provision for money to be provided by Parliament to meet costs attributable to the Bill. Subsection (1)(a) also provides statutory authority for the costs of setting up the traffic officer service and establishing regional control centres and traffic information systems.
Clause 92: Commencement
182. Clause 90 provides for the Secretary of State (or the National Assembly in Wales) to commence the provisions in this Act by order, providing for different parts to be commenced on different dates. The clause also provides that the Secretary of State (or the National Assembly in Wales) may by order make transitional provision or savings in connection with the coming into force of any provisions in this Bill.
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
183. To set up the Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service and Regional Control Centres there will be an initial capital investment of £49m, and initial, one-off revenue costs of £23m. These costs will both be spread over three years, as the Traffic Officer Service is phased in across the trunk road network over that period. Annual, recurring, revenue costs will gradually increase from zero to £57m per year over the three year period, after which they will remain at £57m per year.
184. Any impact on local authorities' costs will vary between authorities, depending how they organise themselves to perform their new duties and exercise their new powers. They may choose to redeploy existing resources, or make arrangements to carry out functions differently, rather than incurring additional costs. Exercising some of the new powers could involve income to authorities through penalties and charges. Measures involving additional powers for local authorities should be self financing. The overall effect of the provisions in the Bill is expected to involve no net costs on average to local authorities.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER
185. Measures in the Bill for improving traffic management on trunk roads will see investment in the creation of a Traffic Officer service. The Highway's Agency will be recruiting some 1200 staff as Traffic Officers. The transfer of responsibilities will also mean that the equivalent of 550 police officers will be free to focus on other policing matters.
186. Whether the duties and powers for local authorities in the Bill involve any additional staff will depend on the arrangements they make for their new duties and whether and how they exercise the new powers. A traffic manager, for example, could be an existing member of staff, and the civil enforcement of traffic contraventions may be carried out in house or contracted to an outside firm. Overall some additional staff may be required, although as mentioned above, the additional activity should be self financing.
SUMMARY OF THE REGULATORY APPRAISAL
187. A Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) for the Bill is available on the Department for Transport's website, at www.dft.gov.uk. The assessment states the Government's view that the benefits of this legislation will outweigh the costs.
188. In line with the existing regulatory regime for utility companies' street works, many of the Bill's provisions - particularly on street works - provide for regulations to set out the detailed arrangements for how these policies will be translated into change on the ground. Further RIAs will be prepared as and when these new provisions are commenced, at which stage more detailed analyses of costs and benefits will be provided.
189. Commencement orders will be made setting out when this Bill (or specific clauses in the Bill) will come into force.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
190. Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement, before second reading, about the compatibility of the provisions of the Bill with the Convention rights (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The Secretary of State for Transport has made the following statement:
In my view the provisions of the Traffic Management Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2003||Prepared: 15 December 2003|