Govt postpones traffic area changes
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PLANS to reorganise the Traffic Areas were brought to a dramatic halt this week, just four days before they were due to come into effect.
Transport Secretary David Howell told MPs on Monday that he was withdrawing the proposals to reduce the number of areas from 11 to nine.
This was because a joint committee of Peers and MPs studying the proposals warned in a report published in February that the change might be illegal because of a gap in the law setting up the traffic areas.
It was not right to ask Parliament to pass the proposals in their present form. So he was withdrawing them and would submit fresh proposals to come into effect on April 1 next year, instead of yesterday (April 1).
Under the proposals for this year, the 11 traffic area offices would be retained for a trial period, although further rationalisation has not been ruled out by the Department of Transport.
While the old areas will linger on for another year, North Western Licensing Authority Roy Hutchings is already covering that part of the Northern Traffic Area which will fall into his new area, Yorkshire LA John Carpenter is covering the proposed North Eastern area, and Eastern LA Ken Peter is covering the expanded Eastern area.
The changes were proposed because of the reduction in administrative work as a result of bus and coach deregulation.