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Transport Act 2000

Sections 268 to 269: Quiet lanes and home zones and rural road speed limits

280.Section 268 makes provision for quiet lanes and home zones. It enables local traffic authorities to designate roads for which they are responsible as quiet lanes or home zones. There is no constraint on the use of this power, except that the appropriate national authority may give guidance as to its use, to which local traffic authorities must have regard.

281.Designation as a quiet lane or a home zone will, in itself, make no difference to the roads in question. But it will enable the local traffic authority to make use orders and speed orders relating to these roads, subject to procedures which may be specified in regulation by the appropriate national authority, and which may include approval of the individual order by that authority or another body (which might, for example, be the Greater London Authority for orders in London.)

282.Use orders would permit the road to be used for purposes other than passage. They might be particularly appropriate in Home Zones, to give legal status to activities other than progress up and down the road, for example children’s play. These activities would be subject to requirements not to obstruct the lawful use of the road by others, or to deny reasonable access to premises.

283.Speed orders would enable the local traffic authority to introduce speed-reducing measures. These could include traffic calming measures in which respect the new provisions neither add to nor detract from local authorities’ existing powers. The new features of speed orders are that the scope is not limited to traffic calming measures, and that they have to specify the speed below which they are intended to hold the traffic. They will not, by themselves, impose speed limits at that level. These will need to be set by order for individual roads, and any local speed limits below 20 mph will, (unless current restrictions are changed) require the approval of the appropriate national authority.

284.The appropriate national authority, for this section, is the Secretary of State in England and the National Assembly in Wales

285.Section 269 relates to a proposed hierarchy of roads in rural areas. It imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to review the application of speed limits on rural roads, and prepare a report for Parliament within 12 months of Royal Assent

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