Local traffic authorities may introduce variable speed limit signs on their roads without consent from the Secretary of State, providing those signs conform with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and the relevant speed limit orders are in place. Local traffic authorities need to seek consent to introduce signs only if they do not conform to these regulations.
Applications for consent must provide supporting information as set out in the relevant regulations. Subject to that information being received, the Department would expect to reach a decision within five working days.
The Department initially received a formal request from Essex county council on 15 December 2005. The Department found it necessary to seek further information concerning the statutory consultation procedure before considering the application.
It is understood that this information was sent to the Department on 3 August 2006. It was not, however, received. It was not until 16 January 2007 that the Department was made aware that Essex county council had submitted this information and was still waiting for a response. The Department received a further set of the documents on 17 January 2007, and duly gave its consent on 18 January 2007.