Sandwell Council to ask Government for more police powers against reckless drivers

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The fines – or Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) – will be issued with Moving Traffic Enforcement (MTE) by the Sandwell Council, if approved

Drivers in Sandwell may face fines if found to flout traffic law, as councillors approved plans this week to ask for more police powers.

Councillors approved plans to ask the government for enforcement powers to fine reckless drivers. The deadline for Sandwell council to apply for the powers from the Department for Transport (DfT) is October 25.

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The fines – or Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) – will be issued with Moving Traffic Enforcement (MTE) at the higher level of £70 for “moving traffic contraventions” – reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days in line with existing traffic enforcement policy in the borough.

Moving traffic contraventions include:

  • incorrectly driving into a bus lane
  • stopping in a yellow box junction
  • banned right or left turns
  • illegal U-turns
  • going the wrong way in a one-way street
  • ignoring a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Danny Millard, cabinet member for environment, said: “This initiative will improve road safety in Sandwell at neutral cost to our residents so therefore it’s very beneficial.

“The enforcement method  would be through static cameras that could be randomly deployed. So we we identify a location and we put those icons in there. The penalty charge includes the maintenance and the operation and the administrative enforcement in terms of the static speed cameras.”

Councillor Bob Piper, the deputy leader of Sandwell Council, said: “Virtually the first act of the coalition government in 2010 was to abolish the funding for any new speed cameras and cut back council vote safety budgets.

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“Some of our opposition members complain about speeding and vote and they their government are responsible for cutting those red state road safety budgets.

“This could be a fantastic news to almost every elected member in this chamber, the problems of speeding vehicles need to be controlled.

Sandwell council House, Oldbury (Photo - George Makin)Sandwell council House, Oldbury (Photo - George Makin)
Sandwell council House, Oldbury (Photo - George Makin) | George Makin/LDRS

The council will create a business case outlining the need for enforcement powers. Money to implement enforcement powers will be “cost neutral to the authority and local taxpayer”, according to the papers.

A public consultation with Sandwell residents and West Midlands police chief constable, Craig Guildford, will take place for six weeks, planned to commence in July 2023.

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The ongoing operational costs of enforcement powers will be met from penalty charge incomes – but will take up to 12 months.

An extract of the cabinet report reads: “Acquiring these powers will allow Sandwell to be more proactive in improving road safety, air quality, congestion, and network management.

“In addition, having these powers will provide an effective tool to respond to resident, school, and councillors’ concerns in a more positive and proactive manner.

“Currently all issues related to non-compliance are referred to the local police who have limited resource available for moving traffic enforcement.”

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Unlike funds raised from speed camera fines, which are transferred to government, funds from moving traffic enforcement fines will be kept by the local authority.

It means Sandwell Council will use the money to fund highway infrastructure projects, pay for environmental improvements in the borough, and improve road safety.

Councils in Birmingham, Walsall and Coventry have already applied for traffic enforcement powers while local authorities in Dudley, Solihull and Wolverhampton intend to apply in October 2023.

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