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Maria Eagle Quizzes Transport Department on Traffic Orders Decision

Maria Eagle MP has put questions to the Department for Transport asking them when a decision will be made about proposals to remove the obligation for traffic notices to be advertised in local newspapers.

The Shadow Transport Secretary has asked for timings on the decision after a consultation into the plans – which the NS believes would lead to greater secrecy in local Government - closed in April.

Ms Eagle’s office told the NS she had put questions to the Department for Transport after she wrote to the NS in May in response to concerns raised with her and also at an NS meeting with Lilian Greenwood, Shadow Minister of Transport, earlier this year.

Since then, the Welsh Assembly has rejected similar plans following a separate consultation in Wales which saw 85 per cent of respondents including road users, members of the public and local media publishers vote against the plans.

The Welsh Government acknowledged removing TROs from local press would leave certain groups “disenfranchised” and that  “inconsistencies in approach” from different local authorities could make it difficult for them to demonstrate that due process had been followed.

Independent research conducted by Gfk NOP shows that 64 per cent of adults were concerned about the plans and just three per cent of the population used council websites to find such information.

More than two-thirds of the population (69 per cent) think it is important they are made aware of planned changes to local traffic routes. This is particularly true among drivers (74 per cent) and those who drive to work (82 per cent), the research found.

Separate research conducted in Scotland found that respondents were more than four times as likely to expect to find public notices in their local newspaper or newspaper website than on a local government website.

The NS believes that removing traffic notices from local newspapers would result in councils publishing controversial notices on an obscure part of their website away from the public’s gaze. 

The NS is the voice of Britain’s local media, the UK’s most trusted medium. It represents 1,100 newspapers, 1,700 websites and other print, digital and broadcast channels.