On 14 June 2018, Hampshire County Council (“HCC”) as traffic authority made a traffic regulation order (“TRO”) prohibiting motor vehicles from using three rural “green lanes” in the Meon Valley between Petersfield and Winchester.  The lanes had been seriously damaged by 4x4s and trail type motorcycles.

Section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 imposes on HCC a statutory duty to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic, so far as practicable having regard to the subsection (2) factors.  HCC conceded that it did not once refer to section 122 during the four year process culminating in the making of the TRO, and that it had not otherwise expressly considered its duty under that provision.  HCC was also under a statutory duty to consult the Chief Constable of the Hampshire Constabulary prior to making the TRO.  It did so, but the Chief Constable’s representative opposed the making of the TRO.  HCC’s officer report did not mention this fact.  In fact it stated that the proposed TRO had the “full support” of the local police.

Despite this unpromising factual background, Stephen Whale of Landmark Chambers successfully represented HCC in the Court of Appeal (as he did in the High Court) in resisting the challenge to the TRO.  The Judgment is particularly important in clarifying the approach to be adopted by traffic authorities in relation to section 122.

Stephen regularly advises traffic authorities and others on TRO matters.

For a copy of the Judgment, click here.

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