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DfT change the Traffic Order Procedures for the pandemic

  • Wednesday May 27, 2020

Having given guidance and then statutory guidance to local authorities on how to deal with making traffic orders in the current pandemic, DfT has now surprised everyone by introducing a formal amendment to the order making regulations to relax temporarily the advertising and document inspection requirements.

The Traffic Orders Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 23 May and amend these three regulations:

  • The Road Traffic (Temporary Restrictions) Procedure Regulations 1992
  • The Local Authorities’ Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996
  • The Secretary of State’s Traffic Order (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1990.

Perhaps the DfT had noted the criticism that its previous guidance simply advised authorities to ‘bend the law’ if necessary without giving them any proper authority to do so, leaving them open to legal challenge.  Anyway councils are now safe to make what alternative arrangements they consider “appropriate for the purpose of informing persons likely to be affected”.  In most cases these arrangements are likely to involve posting of notices on-line, both on the council’s own website and any local newspapers that are publishing virtually. With council offices and libraries closed, it will also be necessary to make the pack of deposited documents that would have been available for inspection available on-line.  Systems such as ParkMap, already in use by many councils for traffic order consultation, are ideal for this.

The new Statutory instrument can be downloaded here and the accompanying statement here.

The above new rules only apply in England, so it remains to be seen whether the Scottish and Welsh Governments issue anything similar.

Written by Simon Morgan, on behalf of IHE
26th May 2020

Photo credit: Jose AS Reyes/

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