Helping you understand Welsh law

What is devolved?

The National Assembly may, under section 108 of, and schedule 7 to, the Government of Wales Act 2006 (GOWA 2006), pass laws in relation to: highways (including bridges and tunnels), streetworks, traffic management and regulation and transport facilities and services.

However, Schedule 7 contains a number of exceptions concerning matters in relation to which the National Assembly cannot pass laws. The following exceptions are of particular relevance in the field of transport and highways:

  • Registration of local bus services, and the application and enforcement of traffic regulation conditions in relation to those services.
  • Road freight transport services, including goods vehicles operating licensing.
  • Regulation of the construction and equipment of motor vehicles and trailers, and regulation of the use of motor vehicles and trailers on roads, apart from:

(a) any such regulation which:

(i)  relates to schemes for imposing charges in respect of the use or keeping of vehicles on Welsh trunk roads   ('trunk road charging schemes'), or

(ii) relates to the descriptions of motor vehicles and trailers which may be used under arrangements for persons to travel to and from the places where they receive education or training, unless the regulation is the setting of technical standards for construction or equipment of motor vehicles or trailers which differ from the standards that would or might otherwise apply to them; and

(b) regulation of the use of motor vehicles and trailers carrying animals for the purpose of protecting human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment.

  • Road traffic offences.
  • Driver licensing.
  • Driving instruction.
  • Insurance of motor vehicles.
  • Drivers' hours.
  • Traffic regulation on special roads, apart from regulation relating to trunk road charging schemes.
  • Pedestrian crossings.
  • Traffic signs, apart from the placing and maintenance of traffic signs relating to trunk road charging schemes.
  • Speed limits.
  • International road transport services for passengers.
  • Public service vehicle operator licensing.
  • Documents relating to vehicles and drivers for purposes of travel abroad and vehicles brought temporarily into Wales by persons resident outside the United Kingdom.
  • Vehicle excise duty and vehicle registration.
  • Provision and regulation of railway services, apart from financial assistance which:

(a) does not relate to the carriage of goods,

(b) is not made in connection with a railway administration order, and

(c) is not made in connection with Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the  Council on public passenger transport services by rail and by road.

  • Transport security, apart from regulation relating to the carriage of adults who supervise persons travelling to and from the places where they receive education or training.
  • Railway heritage.
  • Aviation, air transport, airports and aerodromes, apart from:

(a) financial assistance to providers or proposed providers of air transport services or airport facilities or services,

(b) strategies by the Welsh Ministers or local or other public authorities about provision of air services, and

(c) regulation of use of aircraft carrying animals for [the purposes of protecting human, animal [or plant] health], animal welfare or the environment.

  • Shipping, apart from:

(a) financial assistance for shipping services to, from or within Wales, and

(b) regulation of use of vessels carrying animals for [the purposes of protecting human, animal or plant health, animal welfare or the environment.

  • Navigational rights and freedoms, apart from regulation of works which may obstruct or endanger navigation.
  • Technical and safety standards of vessels.
  • Harbours, docks, piers and boatslips, apart from:

(a) those used or required wholly or mainly for the fishing industry, for recreation, or for communication between places in Wales (or for two or more of those purposes), and

(b) regulation for the purposes of protecting human, animal [or plant] health, animal welfare or the environment.

  • Carriage of dangerous goods (including transport of radioactive material).
  • Technical specifications for fuel for use in internal combustion engines.

Although the National Assembly’s power to legislate in this area is very wide, the UK Parliament continues to be able to pass laws for Wales relating to highways and transport, subject to obtaining the National Assembly’s consent.

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