UK Politics

Government promises to reduce nav snarl-ups

Sat nav system
Image caption Campaigners say some A roads should be downgraded to reduce traffic flow

Ministers are promising to help drivers and residents by making satellite navigation systems less likely to send them down unsuitable roads.

Transport minister Norman Baker said councils should be able to decide which are classified A roads or more minor B roads, rather than Whitehall.

This would ensure "better traffic control" and "cut red tape", he added.

The move follows stories of lorries getting stuck down country lanes and increased congestion in some areas.

Decisions on changes such as downgrading an A road to a B road, which would be expected to reduce levels of sat nav-directed traffic, must currently be approved by the Department for Transport.

'Hangover'

Under the proposed system, Whitehall would only be consulted where there were "serious disagreements" about a council's decision.

Mr Baker said: "The current system dates back to the 1960s and is a hangover from the days of Whitehall knows best.

"I believe in giving power to local people. This reform will cut red tape and mean councils can better control traffic in their area.

"They can ensure A roads are placed where they want traffic to run, and can lower the category of road in places they want traffic to avoid."

Mr Baker added: "By making it less onerous for councils to ensure road classification better reflects conditions on the ground, journeys will be easier to navigate.

"We are also using this as an opportunity to invite new ideas of tackling some of the problems caused by sat navs, for example lorries being directed down unsuitable roads.

"We want to hear suggestions as to how the current system could be improved - and how councils could better work with sat nav companies."

The government's consultation is open until 1 May.

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