Restrictions in question

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THE legality of new yellow lines across Northumberland has been called into question by a regional transport campaigner.

Penny Stansfield, who has recently been appointed UKIP Transport Spokesperson for Newcastle and Gateshead, has spent five years researching the lawfulness of Traffic Regulation Orders.

And she says that 10 Composite Orders on waiting, loading and parking adopted by Northumberland County Council in 2011 carry no legal status.

The council rejects the claim.

Mrs Stansfield said: “When councils go ‘de-crim’ and collect parking fines instead of the police they have to consolidate all the previous orders. It is called a Consolidation Order under the 1996 regulations.

“Every council in the country has used one of these, but Northumberland has chosen to use the term Composite Order, which doesn’t exist.

“The Consolidation Order only covers minor changes. If there is a major change the council has to make a new order, put a notice in the paper and ask for objections. This would have happened in other authorities, but none has used a Composite Order.

“I have never seen a Composite Order before. As far as the law on traffic regulations is concerned I don’t believe there is such an order.”

Mrs Stansfield began researching the situation after becoming frustrated with an increasing number of parking restrictions.

She says that single and double yellow lines that existed before the new orders should still be lawful because there has been no legal power to revoke them, but any new restrictions may be unenforceable.

And she said that when fellow campaigners tried to obtain the council’s legal advice on the wording used, the information has been refused, citing ‘legal professional privilege’ and that it could ‘prejudice the effective conduct of the authority’s affairs’.

Mrs Stansfield said: “I believe the council hasn’t got the legal authority to change the name of the order. If it had, it would have given the information to us.”

A council spokeswoman dismissed the claims.

She said: “The county council undertook a review of all its Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for the whole of Northumberland. There were around 1,500 separate TROs across the county and the council commenced the process of consolidating these documents into more manageable orders.

“This resulted in the making of 10 Composite Orders (five Waiting and Loading orders and five Parking Places Orders) for the whole county. We are satisfied that Composite Orders are valid and fully enforceable.”