Over the past 4 years as a councillor, I have spent a couple of years on and off sitting on Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC].
The remit of Exeter HATOC is set out in Part 3 of Devon County Coucil’s Constitution.
Under the terms of reference 9.17, Exeter HATOC has the power – within the general strategy, polices and operating procedures of DCC – to exercise various powers of the Highway Authority delegated by the Cabinet, including:
(3) To approve details and implement Traffic Regulation Orders, and schemes for the control of parking on the highway and to be involved in the development of proposals for park and ride schemes.
A Traffic Regulation Order [TRO] is a written legal document made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and all other enabling powers, by the Local Authority under its powers as a Highway Authority to support any enforceable traffic or highways measures including: speed limits, on-street parking, one way streets and other restrictions.
Failure to comply with the requirements of a TRO , as indicated by signs or road markings, is an offence that may result in the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice, by a Civil Enforcement Officer, or prosecution by the Police.
Most traffic regulation orders come about as a result of input from local communities and the police, to address specific traffic congestion or quality of life issues.
The Order Making Process
A formal TRO requires a statutory procedure to be followed. This includes:
1. Consultation – Following the completion of the design, consultation must be undertaken. This will require obtaining the views of Local Councillors and Parish Councils (where appropriate), the Emergency Services and sometimes other institutions such as The Freight Transport Association, The Road Haulage Association and local public transport operators. Local interest groups such as residents, traders and community groups who are likely to be affected by the proposals may also be consulted where appropriate. The proposal could then be amended following consultation.
2. Advertisement of the TRO then takes place. This includes at least one notice in the local press. DCC will usually display notices in any roads that are affected and, if it is deemed appropriate, may deliver notices to premises likely to be affected. For at least 21 days from the start of the notice the proposal can be viewed at a nominated council office during normal office hours. Objections to the proposals and comments of support must be made in writing to the address specified in the notice or submitted online during this period. Substantial objections and contentious issues are then reported to and considered by Local Councillors. When considering the objections they must decide whether to (a) allow the scheme to proceed as advertised, (b) modify the scheme, or (c) abandon it.
3.Making the Order – The TRO can then be formally sealed providing all standing objections have been considered. Modifications to the proposals resulting from objections could require further consultation. This procedure can take many months to complete and the advertising and legal fees can be substantial. For this reason schemes requiring a TRO normally need to be included in the annual Capital Programme and cannot be carried out on an ad hoc basis.
Occasionally temporary orders or experimental orders are introduced which require a slightly different process which still gives people an opportunity to put forward their views.
Temporary Orders may be used when works affecting the highway require short-term traffic restrictions.
Experimental Orders are used in situations that need monitoring and reviewing. These usually last no more than eighteen months before they are either abandoned, amended or made permanent.
In May 2008 Devon County Council took over responsibility for the enforcement of parking restrictions and to assist with this all parking restrictions were consolidated into one countywide TRO.
Changes to this consolidation order are made through amendment orders. These amendment orders can change the articles (legal definitions of the restrictions) and/or the schedules (location descriptions).
To search Devon County Council traffic orders and make a comment about a traffic order please use the online traffic order search.
At Exeter HATOC, we are alway being told how expensive it is to draw up a Traffic Regulation Order and so I made the following Freedom of Information Request to Devon County Council:
I am interested in the component parts of drawing up a TRO and then implementing it
I realise that these costs will differ for different scheme, so I would like a such breakdown to look at a specific example of
Devon County Council (Various Streets, Exeter) (Control of Waiting) Amendment Order 2014
I would be grateful if the breakdown could include:
1) officer time drawing up the scheme
Officer time has not been recorded on this scheme but below is an example of charge-out rates for staff working on TROs.
Technician Range E £31 per hour
Senior Technician Range F £37 per hour
Senior Officer Range H £48 per hour
The above rates for small non-complicated TRO (approx £700). If Committee reports and presentations are required then costs will rise accordingly.
2) costs involved with advertising the scheme
3) costs involved with signage and painting yellow lines