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New powers would see council tackle moving traffic offences

Leicester City Council has outlined plans to tackle traffic congestion and improve air quality, road safety and reliability of bus services at three key junctions using new enforcement powers.

Yellow box junctions near St Margaret’s Bus Station regularly become blocked by motorists who break the law by entering the boxes without being able to exit, causing gridlock, disrupting bus services and blocking emergency vehicles using the routes.

The city council is proposing applying to the Department for Transport for permission to use camera enforcement at three sites, using legislation that allows councils to deal with so-called moving traffic offences.

Sites include the junction of Abbey Street and Gravel Street, the junction of Vaughan Way and Causeway Lane, and the merge on Vaughan Way from Southgates Underpass (clockwise) with the Vaughan Way slip road from St Nicholas Circle.

The problems have been identified as part of work with the newly-formed Leicester Bus Partnership, which was launched this spring to bring together local bus operators and the city council to improve services.

A public consultation is now being launched to give people a say on the proposals. It runs until December 9 and people can go online to find out more about the proposals, to ask questions and to give their views.

Currently, the police are responsible for enforcing moving traffic offences, but the Government has introduced legislation to allow councils to enforce against specific banned traffic manoeuvres, with the police’s support.

The city council already carries out civil enforcement for parking contraventions and is therefore also allowed under the new legislation to undertake moving traffic enforcement.

Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, councils can apply to the Government to take on the responsibility for traffic offences, by applying for a Designation Order. This gives councils powers to enforce areas such as box junctions, one-way streets, no entry signs or other prohibited traffic movements, along with bus lanes, cycle lanes and pedestrian zones for example.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on transport, clean air and climate emergency, said: “These powers would be new to Leicester and local authorities outside London but have been available in the capital for many years and are used effectively to the benefit of all road users.

“We’ve looked closely at the road layouts at these three sites, which are busy parts of the city centre road network. The yellow box junctions in place are there to stop motorists from entering the junction unless their exit is clear, as set out in the Highway Code.

“However, it doesn’t take too many people ignoring that to cause significant traffic disruption, blocking access to and from the bus station and preventing emergency vehicles from getting through.

“Applying to the Government for camera enforcement powers at these junctions means we will be able to take responsibility for ensuring traffic flows efficiently and safely.”

The city council has until January 2023 to submit an application to the Government. Should the application be approved, camera enforcement could come into effect at the three box junctions from late summer 2023.

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