More flexible powers for local authorities to trial experimental traffic management solutions are the subject of a new consultation from the Scottish Government.

Ministers are acting on feedback that the existing legislation covering experimental orders is little used compared to that in England & Wales, because it does not provide “a structured way to genuinely consult and modify along the way with a view to reaching a longer term outcome that is locally supported”.

They therefore propose a new process involving prior consultation with groups such as the police and freight interests, followed by an experimental period of up to 18 months, with objections being invited in the first six months and the order being able to be amended any time within the first 12 months, so that any amendments can have effect for a further six months, and a decision made on the future of the order before the 18 months expire.

The proposals have also been shaped partly in light of experience with the Spaces for People programme, which put in place temporary measures to support physical distancing and increased use of active travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which have proved locally controversial.

Also covered in the document are procedures for redetermination orders, for example designating a footway or part of a carriageway as a cycleway, and orders imposing loading restrictions, for which there may be more onerous procedures than for example introducing double yellow lines.

Click here to access the consultation. Ministers are keen to hear the views of the public as well as users of the legislation. Comments are invited by 30 July 2021.