Traffic Orders (Traffic Regulation Orders or TROs) are written legal documents developed by the Highway Authority allowing the Police (or District Parking Attendants in the case of parking restrictions in Civil Parking Enforcement areas) to enforce various regulations including speed limits, on-street parking, one way streets and other restrictions. 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.
A formal TRO requires a statutory procedure to be followed. This includes:
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 Police and 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.
Advertisement of the TRO then takes place. This includes at least one notice in the local press. The Council 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 during this period. Substantial objections and contentious issues are then reported to and considered by the Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment in the light of the local County Councillor’s views. 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.
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.