§ Mr. Bill O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what procedures his Department has laid down to be followed when local authorities intend to introduce traffic into pedestrian areas or town centres; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hill
Local authorities have powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to regulate traffic on local roads by making traffic regulation orders. These powers can be used to allow traffic into pedestrian areas or town centres. Access can be restricted to certain classes of vehicles and/or times of day. Local authorities are required to follow statutory procedures laid down in "The Local Authorities' Traffic Orders (Procedure) 5W (England and Wales) Regulations 1996", which include consultation with interested parties and publication of their proposals in a local newspaper. The Department has also published guidance on introducing pedestrian zones in Local Transport Note 1/87 titled "Getting the Right Balance—Guidance on Vehicle Restriction in Pedestrian Zones".