Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighteenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


  1. The Committee has asked the Department to submit a memorandum on the following point-

      "Given the special interest the ambulance and fire services can be presumed to have in proposals to construct traffic calming works in highways, indicate whether consideration was given to including in regulation 4 a duty to consult them specifically (as well as the chief officer of police)."

  2. Regulation 4 of these Regulations is in contrast to regulation 3 of the Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/1025) which requires the chief officer of the fire brigade for the area and the chief officer of any body providing ambulance services in the area to be consulted.

  3. Road humps have a far greater impact on vehicles than other traffic calming features. Research has shown that they can be difficult for large, wide axle vehicles to traverse unless the humps are specially designed to accommodate such vehicles. An inevitable result of their shape and design is that they cause discomfort to passengers travelling, for example, in ambulances.

  4. The Highways (Traffic Calming) Regulations, on the other hand, cover speed-reducing measures such as gateways, chicanes, rumble devices, rumble areas, build-outs, islands, pinch points and overrun areas. They offer alternatives to the use of road humps and are used in many situations where road humps are not suitable. These can include roads used by emergency vehicles. Regulation 9 provides that no traffic calming work shall be constructed or maintained in a carriageway so as to prevent the passage of any vehicle unless the passage of that vehicle is otherwise lawfully prohibited. This ensures that no vehicles (but particularly large or wide vehicles) may be prohibited from roads with traffic calming works unless the prohibition is imposed by a traffic regulation order made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Such an order will not apply to vehicles being used for ambulance, fire bridge or police purposes.

  Bearing in mind also that many schemes involving traffic claming features are quite small, the Department considered that it would not be reasonable to impose on local highway authorities a statutory duty to consult formally with the local fire brigade and ambulance services. Nevertheless, the Department does advise local highway authorities to discuss traffic calming schemes with the emergency services and to take note of their comments. The Department's Traffic Advisory Leaflet 7/93 advises local highway authorities on the need for consultation with local road users and states that local emergency services should always be consulted. After the Highways (Traffic Calming) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993/1849) came into force a code of practice was agreed by the Joint Committee on Fire Brigade Operations, the Department of Health's Ambulance Policy Advisory Group, the local authority associations and the Department for Transport. Traffic Advisory Leaflet 3/94 provides details of that code and gives advice to local highway authorities to work together with the emergency services, so as, among other things, to minimise disruption to emergency services caused by traffic calming features. The Department's understanding is that the code works well and that there have been no recent complaints from the emergency services about lack of consultation on traffic calming measures.

30th April 1999

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