News story

Government launches plan to put drivers back in the driving seat

New 30-point plan to support people’s freedom to use their cars and curb over-zealous enforcement measures.

  • Transport Secretary announces plan for drivers to fix common issues on the road and back people who use cars in their daily lives
  • action will be taken to support drivers with easier parking, smoother journeys and fairer traffic enforcement
  • measures will also speed up the rollout of electric vehicle chargepoints across the country and crack down on inconsiderate driving

Today (2 October 2023), the Transport Secretary announced a new 30-point plan to support people’s freedom to use their cars and curb over-zealous enforcement measures.

Drivers will benefit from smoother, easier journeys thanks to the government’s new plan for drivers, including £70 million to keep traffic flowing and measures to speed up the rollout of electric vehicle charging. 

The plan includes measures that could help councils increase spending on fixing potholes and road repairs by more than £100 million over 10 years, fining roadworks which overrun, new technology to simplify parking payment and updating 20mph zone guidance for England to prevent inappropriate blanket use

The government has also today committed to exploring measures to speed up the installation of chargepoints for electric vehicles and extending grants to schools to install chargepoints.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: 

We’re backing drivers and our new long-term plan will improve journeys for millions across the country, whether they’re commuting to work or college, parking up for a day trip, or charging their electric car. 

Our plan for drivers will support thousands of skilled jobs and help grow the economy, sitting alongside our continued record investment in public transport and active travel – ensuring people have the freedom to travel how they want.

To help ease congestion, £70 million will be provided to councils this financial year in 3 different schemes to invest in improving traffic lights and signals, including AI tech to optimise traffic flow in city centres.

Journeys will also be smoother and quicker with the digitisation of traffic regulation orders, which will pave the way for autonomous vehicles and make life easier for today’s motorists by ensuring satnavs have the most up-to-date information on the location of parking spaces, road closures and speed limits. 

These measures fulfil the government’s commitment to support families and grow the economy by making driving easier for the 50 million car licence holders in the UK. It will also help people make the switch to electric vehicles as the country continues its proportionate, balanced journey to net zero.

The measures come on top of extending the temporary fuel duty cut for another year in March 2023 to save drivers a total of around £5 billion over the past 2 years.

The full plan for drivers will make journeys smoother by:

  • strengthening guidance to make sure bus lanes operate only when buses are running
  • guiding local authorities on allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes and holding a consultation about whether motorcycle access should be standard
  • permitting red flashing lights for breakdown vehicles, helping to protect recovery drivers by making them more visible at the roadside
  • supporting councils to introduce more lane rental schemes, which reduce roadworks by incentivising utilities to avoid the busiest roads at the busiest times
  • consulting on requiring local authorities with lane rental schemes to use at least 50% of any surplus on pothole repairs or resurfacing
  • consulting on extending fines for overrunning street works at weekends and increasing fixed penalty notices
  • rolling out the Live Labs 2 programme to explore new, low-carbon and high-tech ways of managing local highway networks, supporting the transition to net zero carbon local roads and infrastructure
  • developing a New Road Condition Data Standard to provide local authorities with access to new technologies enabling them more easily to identify and deal with road defects like potholes
  • £30 million fund to upgrade traffic signal systems, replacing unreliable and obsolete equipment to improve reliability
  • £20 million ‘Green Light Fund’ to tune up traffic signals to better reflect current traffic conditions and get traffic flowing
  • £20 million to deploy advanced technology for traffic signals, making use of machine learning and AI to optimise traffic flow and balance traffic across city centres

We’re also stopping unfair enforcement by:

  • issuing 20mph zone guidance for England to help prevent inappropriate blanket use.
  • consulting on measures including the removal of local authorities’ access to DVLA data to enforce such schemes by camera
  • focusing on the importance of local support and consider as part of the LTN review how to address existing LTNs that have not secured local consent
  • strengthening government and sector-led guidance on enforcement of moving traffic offences such as entering yellow box junctions, to ensure consistency and stop drivers from being penalised unfairly
  • launching a call for evidence on options to restrict local authorities’ ability to generate surpluses from traffic offences and over-zealous use of traffic enforcement powers

We’re making parking easier by:

  • delivering the new National Parking Platform by autumn 2024, ending the need to use multiple parking apps
  • consulting on revising guidance about the public’s right to challenge local authority parking policies
  • introducing digitised traffic regulation orders to help easily identify where it is legal to park anywhere in the country

We’re tackling inconsiderate driving by:

  • consulting on removing the right of uninsured drivers to claim compensation for property damage
  • launching a communications campaign and enforcement to tackle lane hogs and other inconsiderate driving on the motorway
  • allowing local councils to roll out noise cameras to target unacceptable vehicle modifications
  • clamping down on roadside littering, extending the trial on camera enforcement across the strategic road network

We’re supporting the transition to zero emission driving by:

  • reviewing grid connections process for EV chargepoints, with the aim to accelerate it
  • consulting on measures to speed up the approvals process for installation of chargepoints
  • providing dedicated, targeted support for schools to install chargepoints, using existing grants
  • widening eligibility of EV chargepoint grants to include cross-pavement solutions to make EV ownership a more practical option for those without off-street parking
  • providing guidance on the use of safe cross-pavement solutions
  • consulting on the expansion of permitted development rights, making private chargepoint installation cheaper and easier
  • working with industry to myth-bust concerns about EVs

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Published 2 October 2023