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Off-street Parking (Functions of District Councils) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

Background and Policy Objectives

3.In March 2008 the Northern Ireland Executive agreed proposals for the reform of local government as part of the Review of Public Administration (RPA). These proposals included the transfer of certain functions to district councils that are currently exercised by central government Departments.

4.Initially, 11 local roads functions were identified as being suitable for transfer to local government. Detailed discussions between officials from the Department, the Department of the Environment and representatives of local government about the detail of the functions proposed to transfer ensued. During those meetings local government representatives proposed a number of changes to the functions identified for potential transfer.

5.In August 2009, a refined suite of public realm functions requested by local government were agreed. This would have seen the creation of powers enabling district councils to authorise local road race events; issue access permits to pedestrian zones and to enforce parking contraventions on roads and in off-street car parks.

6.The Department consulted on a Roads (Functions of District Councils) Bill between April and July 2010. However, the Bill was withdrawn from the legislative programme since the arrangements for introduction of the new council structure had been delayed and it would have been impractical to introduce the proposed arrangements in the Bill across the existing 26 district councils.

7.In April 2013 the Northern Ireland Executive reconsidered the position regarding the transfer of certain road related functions to the councils and concluded that district councils should become responsible for the future ownership, management and operation of off-street parking places and the enforcement of parking contraventions occurring in such parking places. Park and ride and park and share car parks would remain the responsibility of the Department.

8.To achieve that vision all assets and liabilities relating to the ownership, management and operation of off-street car parks would need to transfer to councils. That will be achieved through Transfer Schemes provided for in the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 (c.8).

9.In addition, legislative powers in relation to the provision, operation and management of off-street car parks and enforcement therein would be required in order for councils to implement this vision.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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