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TRO Review “fails the test of transparency”

Published 29 July 2021 by Transform Scotland

Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash

We have responded to Transport Scotland’s ‘Traffic Regulation Order Review Consultation‘. In our response, we call for a more fundamental review of the TRO process, arguing that the current process is not understandable beyond a narrow field of specialists within Local Authorities.

Transform director Colin Howden said:

“In his Ministerial Foreword to the consultation, Graeme Dey says that it is important that ‘the views of the public are put at the heart of this review’. But we’re certain that the current system will remain a complete mystery until a more fundamental review of the TRO process is carried out. Unfortunately, this consultation is framed in the context of concerns raised by Local Authorities with background documents prepared as though the objective of the exercise is only to mitigate the problems faced by Local Authorities.

“The consultation notes the welter of different TROs and other orders, procedures, and requirements. This might be understood by professional Local Authority staff, but is no doubt highly confusing to local residents and anyone else with an interest in the outcome the orders are intended to produce. It therefore fails the test of transparency.

“In our response we have suggested a new set of principles which would provide a more useful way in which to base the system in future.”

Transform has proposed that the following be used as the basis for a new TRO system:

  • Emergency orders: generally covering hours or days, at most a few weeks, when an unpredicted event occurs such as a road collapse, or ‘major incident’. Inherently, consultation is not practicable. However, notification of those affected should take place as soon as possible.
  • Short-term orders: covering a limited period, to accommodate predicted events such as planned road works, building works or local events. This could include situations such as those described in the background papers as ‘experimental’; such as Spaces for People or any other measure where a ‘try and modify’ approach is appropriate.
  • Permanent orders: probably covering all other situations. This could include ‘Redetermination Orders’. However, within this group a mechanism is needed to cover minor variations e.g. slightly extending a parking bay or double yellow line (e.g. by a metre or so), which appear currently to require the full TRO process, which is obviously disproportionate.