Emergency legislation has come into force to help councils speed up the process behind making emergency traffic orders.
These orders may be needed to create extra cycling and walking space for social distancing.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the main change is to the means of advertising the order, which can be via digital means.
A second-order still needs to be published for information 14 days later in a newspaper, where these are available, or via digital media.
The amended regulations are:
- 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
The amendments will cease to have effect as of 30 April 2021.
The amendments also allow for alternative publicity arrangements for non-emergency Orders to help deal with some practical difficulties that have arisen as a result of restrictions that are in place.
'For example, these might be where local newspapers have closed or have moved publications on-line or local authority offices are closed to the public, and there are concerns about the safety of staff posting site notices in some circumstances,' DfT officials said.
Advice has also been published on using existing signing, and some new temporary designs, to inform pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of changes to road layouts, particularly where temporary widening is in place.
These are covered by the provisions of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 and as such do not need special signs authorisation from the department.
The DfT added: 'Authorities should monitor and evaluate any temporary measures they install, with a view to making them permanent, and embedding a long-term shift to active travel as we move from restart to recovery.'
It also added authorities should seek input from stakeholders during the design phase of new road layouts and traffic restrictions, including local chiefs of police and emergency services, as well as local businesses, to ensure access is maintained where needed.
The public sector equality duty still applies, and in making any changes to their road networks, authorities must consider the needs of disabled people and those with other protected characteristics. Accessibility requirements apply to temporary measures as they do to permanent ones.