The Welsh Ministers have executive functions in relation to traffic management under the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA 2004). Under section 92 of that Act, the Welsh Ministers are designated as the 'appropriate national authority' as regards Wales.
TMA 2004 provides the Welsh Ministers with powers in relation to:
- the creation and operation of traffic officers who assist the police in dealing with traffic issues such as accidents, vehicle breakdown, directing traffic and transport of abnormal loads;
- the appointment of a Traffic Director, where a local traffic authority is failing in its network management duty, and in relation to the production of guidance to local traffic authorities in relation to network management techniques;
- the creation of permit schemes, controlling specified street works in a particular area;
- the creation of a civil enforcement regime to replace criminal sanctions for local authorities in respect of road traffic contraventions, to include parking, moving traffic and bus lane offences.
Subordinate legislation made under TMA 2004 has introduced the concept of civil enforcement areas and special enforcement areas in respect of local authority areas. Specified road traffic contraventions that are committed within such areas are no longer the subject of criminal prosecution issuing of fixed penalty notices. Instead, a (civil) penalty charge is payable by a contravening vehicle owner and enforcement is a matter for civil recovery. Civil enforcement areas and special enforcement areas in Wales are created by local authorities applying to the Welsh Ministers for a Designation Order to be made (by the Welsh Ministers) under powers conferred by section 74 of, and Schedule 8 to, TMA 2004.
The local authority may provide for the enforcement of road traffic contraventions by civil enforcement officers. Detailed procedures exist in relation to the civil enforcement of parking contraventions which allow for representations to be made and appeals to be pursued through an adjudication service.
In addition to TMA 2004, the subordinate legislation currently in force in relation to traffic management is listed under key legislation.