Councils to be given powers to fine drivers £70

A British directional road sign, one way right

Councils in Suffolk will be handed powers to fine drivers for minor traffic offences from December - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Councils in Suffolk are to be handed powers to fine drivers £70 for stopping in yellow box junctions and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. 

From December motorists could face fines for "moving traffic offences" as councils in Suffolk, along with around 300 other authorities, will be able to apply for the powers — which were only previously held by London and Cardiff. 

The Department for Transport confirmed the introduction of the powers must be publicised by councils in advance to ensure drivers are not unfairly targeted. 

Suffolk's borough and district councils, which have responsibility for enforcing parking offences, will be able to apply for the powers. 

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Borough Council said the authority has yet to receive detailed guidance on the issue, and will review, with Suffolk County Council, when more information is released. 

A Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils spokesperson said: “As soon as we have all the relevant information from central government, we’ll be working with our local authority partners and Suffolk police, to collectively explore whether applying to take powers from the police for minor traffic offences would be a suitable solution for Suffolk and our districts.

“Any changes must of course consider the wider Suffolk picture to improve connectivity and road safety, boost active travel, and increase air quality by reducing congestion - in line with Suffolk-wide net-zero carbon and greenest county ambitions.”

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Speaking at the Traffex industry event this week, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, the transport minister, said: "Local authorities will need the tools to manage roads in the way that best serves local needs, which may vary in different parts of the country, and it is this ethos of localism that lies behind our decision to give more powers to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act.

"So 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."

Statistics published by the RAC last year showed that motorists in London and Cardiff were fined £58million in a year for moving traffic offences. 

Drivers are likely to face delays after a lorry broke down on the Copdock roundabout. Picture: ARCHA

Drivers could face fines of £70 for the 'moving traffic offences' - Credit: Archant

Simon Williams, a spokesman for the RAC, 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."

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