Powers to tackle bad driving in Sunderland backed by council chiefs

City council chiefs in Sunderland have backed bringing in new powers to help tackle dangerous and inconsiderate driving in the region.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 6:03 pm
Chiefs have backed the plans.

The Government has been updating legal powers allowing councils to enforce moving traffic offences, such as banned turns, contraventions in box junctions and driving in formal cycle lanes.

Enforcement would come through fixed or mobile CCTV camera deployment and the issuing of penalty charge notices (PCNs).

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The measures would likely be brought in from spring or summer next year, subject to Government approval and Parliamentary timescales.

Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for environment and transport, in presenting the report, noted the move could have numerous benefits to Sunderland.

She said: “In taking on these powers the council will be able to influence driver behaviour and improve the operational performance of the highway network.

“Having the ability to identify problem locations, implement and monitor appropriate restrictions, and enforce those restrictions where necessary, will be extremely beneficial in keeping the city’s traffic moving and encourage behavioural change.

“In addition, the acquisition of these powers will have a positive impact on reducing congestion, improving air quality and road safety, as well as encouraging active travel.”

She added the move could also bring benefits to the lives of pedestrians and improve bus punctuality.

Currently only local authorities in London and Cardiff can issue PCNs for these types of traffic offences.

A move in Sunderland would shift enforcement away from Northumbria Police, though responsibility for speeding offences would remain with police and the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative.

Revenue generated from moving traffic PCNs would be reinvested into Sunderland’s highways network, although it is not yet known what the figure for the standard charge will be.

Cllr Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, added she welcomed the use of CCTV cameras and noted the measures likely not being in place until the summer gives “plenty of time” to get the message out to residents.

Ahead of the meeting, council chiefs said there will be widespread consultation with city and regional transport stakeholders, along with residents, ahead of the powers being brought in.

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