This short paper explains what Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are, how they are made and the various uses to which they can be put.

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Local highway authorities can place temporary, experimental or permanent restrictions on traffic within their areas by way of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). Some of the most popular uses for TROs are restricting the movements of HGVs in residential areas, implementing parking restrictions and restricting traffic for the purposes of parades, street parties and other events.

The making of TROs can be long and costly and there have been calls for reform of the advertising requirements to bring down the cost. The Transport Committee looked at this issue as part of their 2019 inquiry into pavement parking and made recommendations to Government. The Department for Transport is currently reviewing the legislation around TROs to see if it is fit for purpose.

In addition to the policy explained in this paper, from 23 May 2020 the Government suspended some of the rules around making TROs to allow councils in England to better deals with the road traffic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. The Traffic Orders Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/536) do the following:

… [amend] temporarily, legislation relating to Traffic Orders which are required to make and enforce changes to a road’s use or its design. The amendments are intended to speed up and simplify making Traffic Orders to put in place measures to deal with the effects of coronavirus, the need to social distance as a response and to support the Government’s aims for a restart and recovery that helps to enable active travel, for example, cycling and walking. The amendments also provide alternative publicity arrangements to help deal with some practical difficulties that have arisen as a result of restrictions that are in place, for example, some local newspapers have closed or have moved publications online, local authority offices are closed to the public, and concerns about the safety of staff posting site notices in some circumstances. [Explanatory Memorandum]

The provisions in the SI will expire within 12 months if the Government takes no further action to extend it.

Information on other roads-related issues can be found on the Commons Library website.

  • Commons Research Briefing SN06013
  • Author: Louise Butcher
  • Topics: Roads

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