LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGHWAY CHANGES

Introduced by Mr J. House, Traffic & Safety Manager,B&NES on 14 October 1997

Mr House had 20 years experience of traffic management in Bath and Wansdyke with Avon CC
during which time, it was revealed during the discussion, his brief was to represent' the motorist, whereas
now in B&NES the policy is to put the pedestrian first.
Changes on the highway are authorised by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) under the 1984 Road
Traffic Act, prepared by the Highway Authority (now B&NES), enforced by the police or wardens employed
by the Local Authority and providing penalties - a fine or endorsement of driving licence.
Recently, additional reasons for introducing a TRO have been authorised: they can now be used
for environmental reasons or for improvement of an amenity - terms which have yet to be legally defined in
the courts - but the Dept. of Transport limit some applications by controlling the signs which they allow to
be exhibited, for example, a NO ENTRY sign can be modified to allow buses or coaches to enter (as at Avon
Street) but not cyclists.
TROs can be experimental, permanent or temporary.
Experimental TROs are for 18 months with review at 6 months. The procedure for getting a TRO authorised
was displayed on a flow chart. It usually starts with a request to the Highways Dept, although they intend
to become more pro-active. The total procedure involves submission to the Council Committee (the
Transportation sub-Committee of the Planning, Transportation and Environment Committee), which meets
every six weeks, consultation with the public (up to 12 weeks), advertising the TRO (for a month),
considering objections (which have to be reported to the Committee), placing a contract for the work and
implementing it. It takes at least 20 weeks and in some cases up to 18 months to carry out this process.
If a public service operator such as a bus company objects it must go to a public inquiry and so
must any restriction on access for more than 8 hours a day.
The discussion dealt with Pulteney Bridge and John Street, which are awaiting the City Centre
Team report; a pedestrian crossing over Churchill Bridge, where Belisha Beacon poles cannot be erected
because the form of construction of the bridge will not allow holes to be drilled into it, but traffic lights are
being considered; the traffic lights in Charles Street, where the controllers are due for replacement with
modern versions this year; and the problems of introducing a city-wide 20 mph speed limit, which needs
DOT authorisation and this has never yet been given for a whole city.

Don Lovell