Government statutory guidance
On the 9 May 2020 the Government issued new statutory guidance under the 2004 Traffic Management Act, in response to Covid-19, requiring councils to act as 'swiftly as possible' given the urgent need to change travel habits before restrictions are eased, so that people can walk or cycle safely while also observing social distancing. The new guidance lists a range of possible measures to achieve this; such as school streets, temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic.
The measures proposed are being brought in using Temporary or Experimental Traffic Orders. These allow changes to the highway to be made quickly. In the case of Experimental Orders a consultation is undertaken at the same time as the trial commences. This allows road users to experience the changes in effect and then provide feedback on this to the council which is then taken into account ahead of any decisions as to whether the change should be made permanent or not.