HGV maps to be re-drawn
Local authorities are to be given greater control over how their roads appear on maps and satnavs - helping them better to direct traffic.
The change comes under 'bureaucracy-cutting' proposals set out today by the Local and Regional Transport Minister.
At present, if a council wants to change the classification of one of its roads - for example downgrading an A road to B - it has to be approved by the Department for Transport (DfT).
But the Government proposes devolving decision making to councils - as they are best-placed to decide the classification of local roads. This would help the councils make clear to drivers which roads are most suitable for through-journeys, potentially reducing congestion on local routes.
The Minister explains 'The current system dates back to the 1960s and is a hangover from the days of 'Whitehall-knows-best'. I believe in giving power to local people. This reform will cut red tape and mean councils can better control traffic in their area.'
He added that councils will be able to ensure that A roads are placed where they want traffic to run - and, conversely, lower the category of road where they want traffic to avoid. He was also looking for new ideas to tackle problems caused by satnavs - like lorries being directed down unsuitable roads.
Under the new system, councils will have control over road classification decisions in their area - including which roads should be used as primary routes - with no requirement to get approval from the DfT. The Department will only deal with contentious cases where there are serious disagreements about a council's decision.
Local authorities will be required to send a formal record of any changes to the DfT - but reporting will be streamlined, with the current 8 forms replaced with one.
The Department would remain responsible for the Strategic Road Network (motorways and major A-roads operated by the Highways Agency) in England - but road classification and the Primary Route Network are a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The consultation will be open until May - see details at the link below.