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Council seeks new powers to tackle driving offences in Cambridge

Cambridgeshire County Council is hoping it will be granted to new powers to tackle driving offences in Cambridge.

Downing Street And St Andrews Street junction, Cambridge. Picture taken by LDR. (59799808)
Downing Street And St Andrews Street junction, Cambridge. Picture taken by LDR. (59799808)

The authority wants to be able to improve safety and reduce congestion by enforcing moving traffic offences.

Previously, traffic offences could only be dealt with by police, but a change announced by the government in 2020 allowed local highways authorities outside of London to be able to use cameras to enforce ‘moving traffic contraventions’.

These can include driving through a ‘no entry’ sign, turning left or right when instructed not to do so, or driving where motor vehicles are prohibited.

Authorities have to apply to the Department for Transport (DfT) to be allowed to enforce these traffic offences.

Only areas with civil enforcement powers can request the additional powers. In Cambridgeshire, the county council currently only has civil parking enforcement powers in Cambridge.

In a report presented to the highways and transport committee earlier today (Tuesday, October 4) it said there had to be a “robust decision making process” to identify sites where the traffic breaches could be enforced.

It said: “Following discussions with Greater Cambridge Partnership and the police and an assessment of contraventions and road safety data, an initial site for implementation of the moving traffic enforcement powers was agreed as the banned left turn from Downing Street into St Andrews Street.

“This is a busy area with several daily contraventions which can impact on the safety of vulnerable users and bus movements.”

Cllr Simon King (Con, Roman Bank and Peckover) said: “I very much welcome this proposal and I think we all ought to support it.

“I also have to say I think it is rather sad that this is yet another area where we are being asked to pick up the pieces that the police are no longer prepared to enforce.

“That is sad and it is not the way it should be because it involves extra cost to us I’m sure, but we need to do it.”

Cllr Alan Sharp (Con, Woodditton) said he recognised that the powers were only proposed for Cambridge due to it being the only area in the county with civil parking enforcement powers.

He added that he was looking forward to receiving a future report on civil parking enforcement as he still had concerns about “levelling the playing field of civil parking enforcement around the county”.

Chair of the committee Cllr Alex Beckett (Lib Dem, Queen Edith’s) said he was also looking forward to civil parking enforcement in other areas in order to bring forward measures, adding “it is not just Cambridge they are needed in”.

The committee agreed the county council should apply to the DfT for powers under the Traffic Management Act to enforce moving traffic offences.

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