Motorists could be given £130 fines for driving in cycle lanes, under government plans

Sophie Barnes
The fines, which are already enforced in London, could be introduced nationwide as the government tries to encourage more environmentally friendly ways of getting to work once the lockdown is lifted - Eddie Mitchell/Eddie Mitchell

Motorists could face £130 fines from their local council for driving into cycle lanes or stopping in box junctions under new nationwide parking offences being considered by ministers.

The fines, which are already enforced in London, could be introduced nationwide as the government tries to encourage more environmentally friendly ways of getting to work once the lockdown is lifted.

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a £2billion package to fund new cycle lanes, wider pavements and safer junctions as the post-lockdown commute is set to look very different, with just one-tenth of public transport capacity.

Junior Transport Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton told the House of Lords the government was considering what role these enforcement powers could play in helping councils to deliver their transport recovery plans, the Mail on Sunday reported.

More than 1.7million penalty charge notices were issued by London councils in 2018-19 for moving traffic offences.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Councils outside of London have been calling for powers to enforce moving traffic laws for many years and across successive governments.

“Infringements of these laws frustrate responsible motorists, force cyclists into busy traffic, hold up buses, cause unnecessary congestion, affect local businesses and increase pollution.”

In a parliamentary question, Lib Dem peer Lord Bradshaw asked Transport Ministers whether they intended to extend the civil enforcement powers contained in the Transport Management Act 2004 (section 6) to authorities outside London to better enforce moving traffic offences, in order to protect cyclists and pedestrians.

Baroness Vere replied: “We are giving thought to the role these powers could play in helping councils to deliver their transport recovery plans.”

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK said: “Granting local authorities enforcement powers over moving traffic offences makes complete sense and has been repeatedly called for by the Transport Select Committee, local authorities, and road safety campaigners.

“Legislation was passed in 2004 to allow for this, but the regulations have never been activated outside London. With road traffic police officers declining by nearly 50% outside London in a decade and no more traffic wardens, local authorities’ inability to take action has left many offences effectively unenforceable.”

Councils have not made use of all the powers they have to fine motorists. The Telegraph revealed last year that only 59 motorists had been fined for leaving their engines idling despite councils having the power to enforce fines for 17 years.