Box junctions 'big warning area' for councils

17/06/2021
Chris Ames

Box junctions are likely to pose significant problems for local authorities using new powers to enforce moving traffic offences, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal's chief adjudicator has told Traffex visitors.

On Tuesday Department for Transport (DfT) minister Baroness Vere told visitors to Traffex that the new enforcement powers will not be extended to local authorities in England outside London until the end of the year.

In a keynote address, she said: ‘From December, local authorities will be able to enforce moving traffic offences, such as banned turns, box junctions and driving in formal cycle lanes. They will be expected to use these powers to improve connectivity, boost active travel, and increase air quality by reducing congestion.’

She added: ‘And to ensure this change is fair, we will publish guidance for local authorities, so they can make drivers aware that enforcement is being undertaken.’

In a discussion on the issue at Traffex on Thursday, Caroline Sheppard OBE, chief adjudicator at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal said that based on her experience of cases from Cardiff, which already has enforcement powers: 'We think that this is the big warning area for the local authorities.'

Simon Morgan, chairman of Buchanan Computing, and chair of the BSI committee for traffic signs and the Institute of Highway Engineers’ Traffic Signs Panel, said: 'A box junction is not just a simple restriction. It is not, as most people think, an offence simply to stop in a box. It's a very complex thing.'

Ms Sheppard added: 'It's absolutely critical that, before they issue the penalty charge, somebody actually has to look at the film.'

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: 'It’s right that councils outside London have the ability to enforce known rule-breaking hotspots, but we’re fearful that some authorities may be over enthusiastic in using their new powers for revenue raising reasons, to the detriment of drivers.

'While the Government has pledged to give councils advice on how best to let drivers know enforcement is taking place, what’s really needed is clear guidance on making sure enforcement is always carried out fairly. Drivers who blatantly ignore signage or highway rules should expect penalties, but there are instances which are not always clear-cut.

'For example, large yellow box junctions can be particularly problematic to get across without stopping, often due to their design, so it’s important common sense is applied rather than instantly issuing penalties to drivers. The first thing councils should do is review the road layout at these junctions to make sure drivers can negotiate them at all times, but especially at busy periods.'

Cllr David Renard, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: 'Councils have been calling for powers to make our roads safer and less congested for all road users. Powers to enforce against moving traffic offences, such as banned turns, weight restricted roads and yellow box junctions will help to keep local roads moving and make our air cleaner.

'It is good news that councils are being given these new responsibilities and it is important that access to these powers is made as simple as possible.'

Last summer the Government pledged to implement in full Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, which extends enforcement powers, currently held only by London authorities and some authorities in Wales.

In October the DfT’s traffic and technology team lead suggested that the powers could be extended this spring, although he pointed out that it would require secondary legislation to be fitted into the Government’s legislative programme and suggested that the timetable might slip.

However transport minister Rachel Maclean has on a number of occasions this year told MPs that it was 'not possible to say exactly when in 2021 the powers will be commenced' and last week the prime minister told MPs that 'traffic enforcement outside London can only be undertaken by the police' but did not state when this might change.

Content from Traffex and the the British Parking Association's Parkex is still available on demand online. Registration for both events is available here.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

INSIDE:

  • Traffex 2021 news round-up
  • Safety enforcement with a difference
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Road Safety Assistant

Up to £9.31 per hour + PAYE
Road Safety Assistant Temporary, Part Time £9.31 per hour PAYE Location
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Highways Road Safety Engineer

Band F, SCP 26 (£30,451 - £34,728 per annum) (£15.78 - £18.00 per hour)
We have an exciting opportunity available within the Highways Service at Sandwell Council. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Highways Development Engineer

Band F, SCP 26 (£30,451 - £34,728 per annum) (£15.78 - £18.00 per hour)
We have an exciting opportunity available within Highway Services at Sandwell Council. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Business Technical Officer

£34,728 - £39,880
Working as a Business Technical Officer within Operational Services will be a dynamic and flexible role. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Technical Officer

£23,080 - £30,451
Our Senior Technical Officer is responsible for providing effective technical support to our services. Honley, Holmfirth
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Estate Roads Engineer

£25,991 to £29,577
We have an exciting opportunity for enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our Highways Development Management Team. Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Programme Coordinator

£34,728 to £38,890
We’re looking for a Highways Programme Coordinator to join our Highways and Transport Asset Management team. Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Head of Air Quality Measurement

£58,528 – £67,004
The Environmental Research Group (ERG), part of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London. Imperial College London, White City Campus, London W12 0BZ
Recruiter: Imperial College London

Senior Traffic Technician

£25,481 - £28,672
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Senior Traffic Technician working with the forward thinking Traffic Team of Pembrokeshire County Council.  Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)
Recruiter: Pembrokeshire County Council

Definitive Map Officer

£27,049 - £30,564
We are currently recruiting for a Definitive Map Officer to work within our Public Rights of Way and Highway Records team. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Doncaster Council

Senior Finance Business Partner - IDB Property

£53000 - £62364 per annum + + Flexible Working & Local Gov Pension
This position will initially, in line with current government guidance be based from home, with an expectation of being home based for the foreseeab England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Senior Finance Business Partner - Waste and Green Space

£53000 - £62364 per annum + + Flexible Working & Local Gov Pension
This position will initially, in line with current government guidance be based from home, with an expectation of being home based for the foreseeabl England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Senior Engineer

£35,745 - £39,880
Are you an experienced Engineer looking for a new challenge? Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Highway Network Officer

£31,346 - £32,234
Are you looking to progress your career within the Highways and Transport sector? Workington, Cumbria
Recruiter: Cumbria County Council

Head of Highways & Transport

£58,568 - £66,923 per annum
This is hugely exciting time to join the Council in this new role as the strategic lead for our Highways and Transport service. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Apprentice Project Support Assistant

£12,656.10
Looking for a new challenge or your first steps along your career?  Your next adventure starts here!  York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Development and Flood Risk Officer

Up to £141.50 per day + PAYE
Development and Flood Risk Officer Temporary, Full Time £141.50 per day PAYE Location
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Principal Local Engineer

£35,745 - £43,857
The Principal Local Engineer role is to provide service at principal level to deliver Local Engineering duties as set out. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Vehicle Technician

£24,982 - £29,577 per annum
This position is a fixed term contract for 12 months with the prospect of a... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Project Engineer

£32,234 - £34,728 per annum
We are looking for degree qualified candidates with relevant post graduate experience in the sector. Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video