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Road Safety Act 2006

Level Crossings

Section 50: Safety arrangements at level crossings

187.Under the Level Crossings Act 1983 the Secretary of State may by order provide for the protection of those using any level crossing to which the public have access.  Such orders may make such provision as he considers necessary or expedient for the safety or convenience of those using the crossing and in particular may impose requirements as to the installation and maintenance of barriers and other protective equipment (including traffic lights, cameras and warning signs) to be provided at or near the crossing.

188.This section amends that Act to make clear that the Secretary of State may in a level crossings order made under that Act place requirements on the local traffic authority as well as on the operator of the level crossing.  By specifying the local traffic authority as a person on whom requirements may be imposed, it is intended also to make clear that road traffic measures may be included in orders under the Act (e.g. measures to slow traffic at crossings and make it harder for motorists to zig-zag around barriers).  This amendment is made in response to concerns raised that the Level Crossing Act 1983 does not currently specify on whom the requirements of level crossing orders may be imposed and is not clear as to the scope of the requirements that may be imposed.

189.The section provides for a more elaborate consultation process.  The Office of Rail Regulation and the local traffic authority (as well as the level crossing operator) are included in this process.  The Office of Rail Regulation is the single economic and safety regulator for the rail industry.

Section 51: Delegation of power to make level crossing orders

190.This section amends paragraph 7(3)(b) of Schedule 3 to the Railways Act 2005, under which the Secretary of State may not require or authorise the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to make regulations or any other instruments of a legislative character, to preclude its application to action by the Secretary of State to enter into an agreement with ORR for that body to carry out on his behalf the making, varying or revoking of orders made under section 1 of the Level Crossings Act 1983.

191.The section also deems orders purportedly made under section 1 of the Level Crossings Act 1983 by the Health & Safety Executive to have been made by the Secretary of State notwithstanding the terms of section 13(2) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (which comprises a similar preclusion to that described in the said paragraph 7).  This provision has prospective effect only.

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