Birmingham City Council (BCC) is consulting on using new powers granted in May 2022 to local councils to enforce ‘moving traffic offences’ at several locations around the city. Although the law granting councils these powers (the Traffic Management Act) was passed in 2004, until now only Transport for London had been allowed to use the new powers. While previously local councils could use cameras to enforce bus lane restrictions, they will now be able to enforce a range of other traffic restrictions, including driving through ‘No Entry’ signs and taking banned left or right turns.
As the right to drive a motor vehicle is considered sacrosanct by British society, local councils have been told that they can only use these new powers at locations where they have tried unsuccessfully to encourage compliance with traffic restrictions through other measures. Heaven forbid that drivers in the UK should be expected to drive every day at the same standard required to pass a driving test! BCC have identified 6 locations in Birmingham where putting up signs and asking nicely hasn’t resulted in sufficient compliance with the law, and where that law breaking is creating sufficient issues to warrant using ANPR cameras to issue fines to law-breakers.
The consultation closes on 26th Dec.
In the consultation you are asked whether or not you agree with BCC using these powers, what you think of the 6 suggested locations and whether or not you have any other locations you would like to suggest. You are also given space to give reasons for your answers - and I think that personal stories about how illegal behaviour by people driving motor vehicles and how that has put you at risk would be very useful here.
The consultation can be found here: Moving Traffic Enforcement consultation
What ‘moving traffic offences’ are covered by the new powers?
The Department for Transport has provided a list of the traffic signs that local councils will be able to enforce - which you can see in this short (4 page) PDF document:
The categories of signs covered are:
- signs banning turns or entry, or instructing vehicles to go in a particular direction
- yellow boxes at junctions and also ‘school keep clear’ zig-zag lines
- routes restricted to particular types of vehicles, including cycle tracks and bus lanes
What will be done with the fines that the council collects?
Because of the whipped up hysteria in the UK around the fake ‘war on motorists’, the government has dictated to local councils that these fines must not appear to be a ‘tax on motorists’, so beyond paying for the running of this law enforcement scheme, the revenues collected must be spent on traffic schemes or pollution mitigation. BCC say that they will use the revenues raised to support public transport and promote active travel (walking and cycling) as well as schemes to reduce law breaking by drivers.
Which are the initial 6 locations where there will be ANPR camera enforcement ?
Newhall Street / Great Charles Queensway (A4400) (city centre)
Enforcement of the banned left and right turns
Traffic on Newhall Street is restricted to only crossing straight over the Queensway at this junction, so that motor traffic crossing into the city centre is not caught up with motor traffic accessing the inner ring road. The pedestrian crossings over the Queensway have a green light at the same time as traffic on Newhall Street, so any illegal turns by motor vehicles put pedestrians at risk at this busy location. This is an issue that has recently been highlighted on Twitter by people who walk regularly across this junction. Badly Parked Brum has also posted recent photos of cars taking banned turns at this junction. There is clearly a significant issue of law breaking here.
Bristol Road (A38) / Priory Road (B4217) (Edgbaston)
Enforcement of the banned left and right turns.
This location is very important for the A38 cycle track from the city centre to Selly Oak. Motor traffic on Bristol Road is banned from turning onto Priory Road across the cycle track, so that the cycle track and pedestrian crossing can have a green light when the motor traffic on Bristol Road has a green light. This location has become a hotspot for drivers breaking the law, however, as many selfish drivers believe that their convenience is more important than the safety of vulnerable road users. If you spend 5 minutes watching this junction, you will see several drivers breaking the law here. I have reported many drivers to the police here using video footage, and have been called as a witness to court in one case where the driver denied the offence (until she watched the video footage with the court-appointed solicitor).
It is not an exaggeration to say that using ANPR camera enforcement at this junction will save the lives of cycle users, and should on its own motivate you to respond to the consultation in support of the proposals.
Kingsbury Road / Gravelly Hill (A5127) (Erdington)
Enforcement of a banned right turn from Kingsbury Road onto Gravelly Hill.
At this Y-shaped junction, the right turn out of Kingsbury Road onto Gravelly Hill has been banned to reduce road traffic collisions. The junction does not have any traffic lights, and the angle is such that it must be difficult for drivers to turn right safely here. This location doesn’t have any cycling issues that this ANPR enforcement would improve - it is a scheme aimed at improving safety for motor vehicle drivers.
Corporation Street / James Watt Queensway (B4114) (city centre)
Enforcement of a banned left turn off the Queensway onto Corporation Street.
It appears that this scheme is intended to prevent people turning off the Queensway up a short one-way section to access Corporation Street. The start of the A34 cycle track crosses this one-way road, and so this scheme will have a positive impact on the safety of cycle users here.
Rectory Road / Midland Drive (Sutton Coldfield)
Enforcement of a No Entry sign.
This scheme is to enforce a ‘No Entry’ sign on Midland Drive at the junction with Rectory Road. Presumably some drivers are driving through this ‘No Entry’ sign to avoid taking the longer route to legally access properties on Midland Drive.
Boldmere Road (B4142) / Cofield Road (Sutton Coldfield)
Enforcement of a No Entry sign.
This scheme is also to enforce a ‘No Entry’ sign on the entrance to Cofield Road. This road has a primary school on it, and there have been some road traffic collisions near the Boldmere Road / Cofield Road junction.