Currently, the County Council does not enforce moving traffic contraventions on its road network. This responsibility lies with Sussex Police.
Typical examples of moving traffic contraventions include:
- stopping in box junctions
- goods vehicles exceeding the maximum gross weight indicated
- turning left or right where prohibited
- entering and waiting in a pedestrian/cycle zone
- driving on routes reserved for use by buses, pedal cycles and taxis
- driving the wrong way in a one-way street
- driving in a street where motor vehicles are prohibited
- undertaking a U-turn where prohibited.
However, the County Council is planning to use new powers, recently introduced by Parliament, which enable the enforcement of moving traffic contraventions under civil law. These powers form Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, which allows highway authorities outside of London to use approved camera devices to enforce moving traffic contraventions.
Moving Traffic Enforcement (MTE) could offer the County Council a more cost effective and reliable method for enforcing many of its Traffic Regulation Orders and other moving traffic contraventions, which in turn could reduce network congestion and improve highway safety.
Targeted enforcement of certain types of restrictions may also help bring about improved journey times for public transport and emergency service vehicles. In addition, approved camera devices could also be used for network management purposes such as managing the compliance of street works and the monitoring of traffic hotspots.
An application to the Department for Transport (DfT) for the County Council to take on MTE was approved in July 2023. Some additional work is currently being undertaken to amend the extent of the County Council’s ‘Special Enforcement Area’ and it is envisaged that this will be complete by April 2024.
However, no enforcement will take place until such time as a MTE Policy has been prepared and approved by county councillors. The policy, currently under development, will set out the context for MTE, the outcomes expected and how MTE will be implemented, delivered and operated in West Sussex.
Any future MTE proposals will be subject to full scrutiny and a comprehensive public engagement. At all MTE locations, warning notices for first time contraventions, rather than Penalty Charge Notices, will be issued for the first 6 months of operation, allowing drivers to get used to any new arrangements.
The primary objective of MTE will be to ensure compliance with Traffic Regulation Orders and not to generate income.
Further details on MTE will be provided in due course.
2 Bus lanes
Bus lanes are dedicated lanes that often run alongside the main carriageway. They are marked by a solid thick white line and the words ‘Bus Lane’ are periodically marked on the road. Only buses and authorised vehicles can travel in the bus lane as shown by appropriate signage.
The only bus lanes in West Sussex are in Crawley, although the County Council does not currently enforce them via the use of cameras.
A full compliance check of bus lane signs and lines has recently been undertaken and the County Council intends to monitor traffic activity at numerous locations across Crawley. Should a significant level of non-compliance be recorded, consideration will be given to the future installation of enforcement cameras.
3 Bus gates
Bus gates are short, dedicated stretches of road along which use is restricted to public transport and, where specified, taxis and other authorised vehicles. Bus gates normally have the words ‘Bus Gate’ marked on the road. There are warning signs of the bus gate restriction ahead, and again at the point where the restriction starts.
The aim of introducing and enforcing bus gates is to:
- improve bus reliability
- ease congestion
- manage the impact of traffic on the environment.
Several bus gate sites are in the process of being commissioned and these may be suitable as locations for camera enforcement. However, these decisions will be subject to assessment against the MTE Policy criteria once this has been approved.
Until then, the County Council will continue to monitor each bus gate site and review local communication strategies to try and improve compliance once each site becomes operational.
Further details on how the bus gates will work will be available in due course.