Warning for Reading’s drivers as yellow box junction enforcement begins on Monday - Paul Childs Keller Williams

DRIVERS who stop in yellow box junctions will be fined from next week, as Reading Borough Council begins enforcement powers.

Last year, the government gave permission for the council to prosecute drivers for moving traffic offences, gaining powers from the police.

Fifteen yellow box junctions across the town have been identified for the scheme, and drivers caught breaking the rules will incur a fine.

A roll-out process of the scheme will begin on Monday, February 20, with the yellow box junctions on Kings Road: one at its junction with Eldon Road, and the other at its junction with Orts Road.

For six months, drivers will get one written warning informing them of a rule breach. If the driver breaks the rule again, they will incur a £70 penalty charge notice (PCN).

The PCN can be reduced to £35 if paid within 21 days.

All 15 locations will be ‘live’ by the autumn.

The enforcement plan was opposed by the AA following a consultation, which argued that drivers are often issued PCNs unnecessarily and without just cause.

However, the measure was welcomed by councillors from all parties on its strategic environment, planning and transport committee on November 16, 2022.

Advocating yellow box enforcement, Cllr Tony Page (Labour, Abbey), lead councillor for transport, said: “The illegal blocking of yellow box junctions has a major impact in Reading.

“Aside from the obvious delays for all road users, it endangers pedestrians and contributes to poor air quality for local residents living in the vicinity of these junctions.

“Having successfully applied to Government to use the powers which, it should be noted, have been utilised by London local authorities for many years, the council is now giving notice of the first two junctions which will be enforced in Reading, which are a few yards apart on the busy Kings Road.”

The six-month warning period ensures drivers have “as much notice as possible” before fines are issued, and that all revenues raised can only be reinvested in transport or highways improvements in Reading.

The council will also punish other moving traffic offences such as driving through ‘no entry’ signs, making banned turns or driving in unauthorised places.

A similar scheme has been operating in London for a number of years, and there have been incidents were motorists have been fined and then appealed because traffic was flowing when they entered the box junction only for it to come to a halt suddenly, trapping them in the box.

A spokesperson for Reading Borough Council urged motorists to be aware of the rules of the road, as well as reading the road ahead.

“Traffic conditions and movements can change all the time at junctions for a whole host of reasons, but we would strongly advise any motorist who is unsure about the law on yellow boxes to familiarise themselves with the Highway Code, which states ‘You must not enter a box until your exit road of lane is clear,” they told Reading Today.

“However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to run right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.”

Any driver that feels a penalty charge has been incorrectly issued will be able to appeal, but the council spokesperson said that they are checked before being sent out.

“All PCN’s are routinely reviewed at on a case-by-case basis before being issued,” they said. “If it is clear that an occurrence caused a change in circumstances after the driver committed to the action of crossing the yellow box, this will be taken into consideration.

“As with all enforcement activities undertaken, we will continuously review and improve our processes as and when required.

“Where a driver wishes to appeal the PCN, details on how to do this can be found in the PCN letter. We would also remind all motorists, that for a period of six months one initial warning notice per vehicle, per junction, will be sent rather than a PCN.

“We hope will serve to remind road users of this new enforcement in the town.”

The scheme is being implemented as part of a wider project to try and make driving around the town better for all, and it has more benefits than smarter traffic.

“The Council is introducing moving traffic enforcement in Reading as part of its drive to increase safety and reduce the queues which are a major contributor to poor air quality in Reading,” the council spokesperson said. “Both of the initial two box junctions are on the route of Reading’s busiest bus service, the Purple 17, and along with other important bus routes will therefore bring benefits to passengers by reducing delays and increasing reliability of services, as well as reducing delays for all road users.

“Yellow box junction lines and signage are being refreshed where necessary at each of the 15 locations before the CCTV enforcement begins. This includes the first phase where lines have been repainted at both the Kings Road junction with Orts Road, and the Kings Road junction with Eldon Road.”

More information on moving traffic enforcement in Reading can be found at https://www.reading.gov.uk/vehicles-roads-and-transport/moving-traffic-enforcement/

Additional reporting: James Aldridge, Local democracy reporter

The box junction enforcements in Reading

Junction of London Street with Queens Road
Junction of Oxford Road with Bedford Road
Junction of Oxford Road with Grovelands Road
Junction of Church Street with Church Road Northbound / Junction of Church Street with Church Road Southbound
Junction Southampton Street with Oracle Gyratory / A329 slip road junction with the Oracle Gyratory / Junction of Bridge Street with Oracle Gyratory
Junction of London Road with Eldon Road and Craven Road
Junction of Queens Road and Sidmouth Street
Junction of Kings Road with Orts Road / Junction of Kings Road with Eldon Road
Junction of Wokingham Road with London Road
Junction of London Road with Chomeley Road (South West bound) / Junction of London Road with Chomeley Road (North East bound)
Junction of London Road with Kendrick Road
Junction of A33 and Rose Kiln Lane (North bound) / Junction of A33 and Rose Kiln Lane (South bound)
Junction of Bath Road and Berkeley Avenue (West bound) / Junction of Bath Road and Berkeley Avenue (East bound)
Junction Bath Road and Burghfield Road (Westbound) / Junction Bath Rod and Burghfield Road (Eastbound)
Junction of A329 and the A33 (East bound) / Junction of A329 and the A33 (North East bound)