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Ministers urged to follow Welsh lead over traffic orders

The Welsh government has scrapped controversial plans to remove the requirement on councils to publish traffic notices in local papers after just 12pc of the public backed the idea.

A public consultation found that most road users continue to use the local press to keep up to date with roadworks and other traffic changes, rather than using council websites.

Now industry leaders are calling on UK ministers to drop the idea for England too.

The NS estimates the proposals will cost the industry £20m a year and discriminate against people without internet access.

Communications and marketing director Lynne Anderson said: “The Welsh Government’s consultation has clearly shown that road users and the wider general public are deeply concerned about these proposals and the Welsh Government has rightly responded by calling a halt to them.

“People rely on their local newspaper for information about changes to roads and are concerned about the information not being made available to them if the obligation to publish TROs in local papers was removed.

“The Welsh Government also acknowledged that the plans would leave certain groups of people ‘disenfranchised’.

“The Department of Transport’s consultation on similar proposals for England must take account of the serious public concern about these plans which the NS believes pose a real threat to the public right to know.”

The Welsh government said it accepted public concerns that the idea may lead to “inconsistencies in approach” between different councils.

It said:  “Consequently, on the balance of all responses the Welsh Government accepts the counter arguments that order making authorities should continue to have to place TRO notices in local newspapers for the time being.

“However, it is also of the view that there is potential scope for streamlining the content of TROs in the future while providing additional points of contact for further information.

“While reaching this conclusion the Welsh Government would still encourage the use of supplementary forms of publicity to maximise coverage.”

The Department of Transport is currently considering responses to a separate consultation over its similar proposals for England. The Government’s response is expected in the autumn.

Research carried out earlier this year by GfK NOP showed that nearly four out of five people expect to be notified about roadworks in their local paper while under three per cent would use a council website for such information.