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Local authorities in England now able to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’ instead of police forces



Local authorities in England outside of London are now able to apply to the Secretary of State for new powers to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’.


Powers usually granted to the police can now be handed to local authorities. This means councils will be able to issue fines to motorists who make illegal u-turns or stop in yellow box junctions for the first time.

In England and Wales, moving traffic offences are defined in law in Schedule 7 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (as amended).


Offences include:

  • incorrectly driving into a bus lane

  • stopping in a yellow box junction

  • banned right or left turns

  • illegal U-turns

  • going the wrong way in a one-way street

  • ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Before changes on 31 May 2022, moving traffic offences were enforceable only by the police in England. The one exception is in London where TfL and London borough councils already had ‘civil enforcement’ powers.

The fines can range from £20 for those paid quickly and can rise up to £105 for a higher level penalty paid late. According to a House of Commons Library article, the Government has said in the SI’s explanatory notes that it expects councils to issue warning notices for first-time offences, before issuing fines.


RAC Head of Roads Policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: "It’s plain for all to see that London boroughs, TfL and Cardiff are generating phenomenal sums of money from the enforcement of moving traffic offences.

"The vast majority of drivers we’ve surveyed agree that those who stop on yellow boxes, make illegal turns or go through ‘no entry’ signs need to be penalised, but when it comes to extending powers to other councils many are concerned, with 68% thinking local authorities will rush to install cameras to generate additional revenue.

"Four in 10 drivers (39%) also believe that road layouts and signage will be made deliberately confusing to increase the number of PCNs issued. Clearly, the priority for enforcement should be to improve road safety and reduce congestion.

"The Department for Transport has decided to extend enforcement powers to other local authorities, however we believe guidance should be issued setting out where enforcement should be targeted and the types of signs that must be used to make drivers aware that enforcement cameras are operating, and for what type of moving traffic offence.


"It should also make clear the circumstances in which a PCN can be appealed and where mitigating circumstances may apply such as stopping in a yellow box to allow an emergency services vehicle to go by.


"We welcome proposals that first offenders are sent a warning letter before subsequent penalties apply. This is particularly important where changes are made to urban road layouts. What we do not want is this being seen by cash-strapped local authorities as a way to generate revenue."

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