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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 24 February

24 February 2023

Concerns about dangerous and inconsiderate driving have been highlighted to us recently - we take these seriously and are actively working to introduce new powers to tackle this issue.

Our parking teams already carry out effective enforcement work, but we never rest on our laurels, and I’m pleased to say that plans to enforce moving traffic offences in Peterborough have now moved a step closer.

We recently held a public consultation over the proposals and I would like to thank everyone who took part and gave us valuable feedback, enabling us to move these plans forward.

As a result, we’ve made an application to the Secretary of State for new enforcement powers to penalise poor and illegal driving, helping to reduce congestion, improve air quality and road safety, as well as encouraging sustainable travel.

These powers are available to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act, allowing councils to tackle issues which currently can only be enforced by the police. Examples of the type of offences that can be enforced include incorrectly driving into a bus lane or through a bus gate, driving in a pedestrian zone, ignoring a no entry sign and illegal U-turns.

A decision is expected to be made by July and if approved, enforcement will be carried out using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and fines will be sent by post to road users who continue to ignore the restriction.

We would initially undertake enforcement at six locations around the city and we’re confident the new powers will benefit road users and residents alike.

In the meantime, we will continue to engage with and update the public on these proposals and work more closely with those directly affected.

You can find out more about these plans here: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/consultations/moving-traffic-enforcement-consultation-2022

I’m extremely proud of the work that we have done over the past year towards achieving financially sustainability and our efforts have now been recognised with a shortlisting for a prestigious national award.

We’ve been shortlisted for the award of Most Improved Council in this year’s Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards, which will be decided in June, honouring local authorities and individuals from across the UK.

In our entry, we cited the breadth of the improvements which have been made since December 2021 when the Independent Improvement and Assurance Panel was voluntarily set up. At the same time, members signed off an Improvement Plan which sought to achieve financial sustainability and transformation in services, governance and culture.

Since then, we’ve made big strides forward and in their latest report, Improvement Panel members – all of whom are leading local government experts - concluded that the council had made significant progress towards its aims.

Highlighted was a stronger grip on finances, improved member engagement and staff culture, stronger political leadership, improved governance and the beginnings of a programme of transformation across all council services.

The past year has involved much hard work from everyone at the council – members and staff at every level. Being shortlisted for this national award is testimony to the dedication, commitment and hard work that's been delivered, so I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone.

Tomorrow (Friday) marks the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion and we are inviting everyone to come together for a poignant event to show solidarity with the country and its people.

A special vigil will be held in Cathedral Square at 5pm tomorrow featuring prayers from The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, the Dean of Peterborough Cathedral and Ukrainian Priest Reverend Bohdan Bilunyk.

Trees along Bridge Street will be specially lit up in blue and yellow for the occasion and guests are invited to light candles in thought of all those who have been affected by the conflict.

There will also be a national minute’s silence at 11am tomorrow for the same cause, so please observe this if you can.

We would also like to remind people that there are several ways you can support the ongoing Ukraine crisis appeal. Please visit our website www.peterborough.gov.uk for more details.

Finally, food lovers can enjoy some international cuisines when a popular winter market returns to our city centre this week.

The market opens today (Thursday) and runs until Sunday, giving shoppers a chance to try tasty street food options, tempting sweet treats, artisan producers and quirky craft items at over 17 stalls in Bridge Street.

There will certainly be something for everyone with food stalls including London Street Foods, Polish beer garden, Karahi and Spice, The Taste of Greece, Sweetdebelly, Mexican and Singaporean food, and Rosemary catering.

The Winter Market has proved extremely popular in previous years, so if you're town or fancy trying some different delights then why not pop along?