HC Deb 31 March 1998 vol 309 cc469-70W
Mr. Charles Clarke

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the road traffic offences for which the police, or other agents, are entitled to levy spot fines; and what plans he has to extend this to other such offences. [37111]

Mr. Michael

There is no system of "spot" fines for road traffic offences in the United Kingdom, but the police (and, in some instances, their traffic wardens) may issue fixed penalty notices in respect of some offences. The recipient of a fixed penalty notice must pay the penalty (normally £20 or £40) within 28 days or request a court hearing if issue of the notice is disputed.

Section 51 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 enables the Secretary of State to provide by order for existing offences to become fixed penalty offences for the purposes of the Act. Schedule 3 to the Act, as amended by two Fixed Penalty Offences Orders (Statutory Instrument 1990/335 and Statutory Instrument 1992/345), lists these offences. A copy of the Act and amending legislation is in the Library.

The Government plan to add the following road traffic offences to the fixed penalty system later this year:

  1. (i) Overtaking a stationary/moving vehicle at a Pelican, Zebra or Puffin pedestrian crossing;
  2. (ii) Having a registration mark fitted to a vehicle where the mark is not in accordance with statutory requirements relating to its size, shape and character;
  3. (iii) Driving on the footway (pavement);
  4. (iv) Pedal cycle—cycling on the footway (pavement); and
  5. (v) Pedal cycle—carrying more than one person on a bicycle not constructed or adapted for that purpose.

In addition, regulations made last year under the Environment Act 1995, which apply within seven local authority areas, provide that local authority officers or other persons authorised by the authority, may issue fixed penalty notices to drivers whose vehicles fail to comply with vehicle exhaust emissions standards when checks are carried out at the roadside. The seven areas in question are:

  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Canterbury
  • Glasgow
  • Middlesbrough
  • Swansea
  • Westminster

The penalty is £60. These regulations also empower the same local authorities to issue fixed penalty notices (penalty £20) to drivers in circumstances where the engine of a stationary vehicle has not been stopped so as to avoid noise and exhaust emissions. Police officers are also empowered to issue fixed penalty notices for these offences.