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Democracy and Traffic Regulation Orders Moving the lines Steve Thompson Project Centre parking development specialist, BPA Fellow, and author of The Guide* suggests ways local authorities can streamline their process for changing TROs ouncillors: cant live with them, cant operate a publicly accountable, locally governed representative democracy without them. Its a fact rarely understood by residents and often misunderstood by council officers that officers can do very little without the authority of elected members, who need to be involved in anything new and remotely interesting. C Officers are there to: make proposals to members and provide costed options implement members decisions provide an interface with the public Whats this got to do with traffic regulation orders (TROs), the regulations that councils use to create yellow lines, resident parking, pay-and-display, and so on? Suggestions for parking controls can come from any one of a number of sources. Residents may contact officers directly, or elected members may present their own or their constituents issues. In any event, officers will be presented with problems and will be expected to provide solutions. Very often, officers will then start to beaver away preparing a proposal or even better a set of possible options. This may take weeks or it may take years, but hopefully will be done within a few months. The point at which you get councillors involved will vary, owing to the type of scheme, the size of the scheme, the wishes of individual councillors, and the culture of the organisation. Best practice is to involve councillors and other relevant stakeholders, for that matter sooner rather than later. Yes, problems can be caused by councillor involvement too early in the process, but there are far more problems caused by getting them involved too late. Flexible working Lets assume youve had elected members involved through the development of the scheme. Next, youre going to have to advertise your proposals to the public and invite formal objections. Dont forget that you can also invite positive You can get constitutional documents changed to improve the delegation process. Theres nothing to lose, but its up to you to make the case responses in support of your proposals, not just objections. It is traditional for objections to be determined by a committee of councillors, which may be a highways committee, the cabinet, or even full council. This can be an extremely lengthy process, particularly if youre locked into a quarterly cycle, and even more so if you just miss a deadline or your report gets dropped at the last minute. The legal processes for making TROs are set out primarily in the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 or, in Scotland, the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 1999. These regulations talk about the order-making authority or 28 britishparking.co.uk PN Dec19 pp28-29 TROs feature.indd 28 25/11/2019 13:28