Fears over council roadwork notices plan

The ADVERTISER is campaigning to put the brakes on plans to remove the requirement for traffic orders to be published in local newspapers.

We have called on local MPs to support our opposition to a proposal which will allow councils to stop placing public notices on changes to road regulations in the news pages of papers like the Advertiser.

The Department for Transport plan will mean details of road closures, diversions and other disruption will no longer necessarily appear in the paper or on our website.

Advertiser editor Peter Hemmett said: “In our opinion this plan poses a dangerous threat to the public’s right to know.

“New independent research shows that local newspapers are still the most effective way of informing the public about traffic changes.

“Under the research 64 per cent of adults and 65 per cent of drivers are concerned about the changes that such information would no longer need to be published in local newspapers.

“The majority of people expect to be made aware of traffic changes through their printed local newspaper – less than three per cent use council websites.”

But Erewash MP Jessica Lee said that Conservative party policy always meant that changes would be made to cut red tape and that the moves would save the taxpayer money.

She said: “It was always party policy that, if elected, Conservatives were going to cut red tape.

“The Department for Transport recently announced that it was going to do just that and announced a consultation called ‘The Red Tape Challenge – Road Transportation.’

“Part of these proposals ends the requirement of local councils to publish in newspapers roadwork notices.

“This is a double-edged sword for Erewash. Whilst Derbyshire County Council will save spending thousands of pounds on advertisements, our local newspapers will lose a vital income.

“The question arises that as the funding for this comes from the taxpayer; is the taxpayer aware of this; and if so, what is the taxpayer’s opinion?”

The Newspaper Society has held meetings with ministers and says the proposals will lead to less transparent local government.