POLICE have explained why they have been unable to issue fines to drivers ignoring a left turn ban on part of Oxford’s ring road – but now can.

A ban on traffic taking a rat-run from the A40 through the Cutteslowe estate in North Oxford has not being properly enforced, the Oxford Mail reported last week.

The matter came to light earlier this month when residents complained to North Oxford councillor Jean Fooks that drivers were flouting the ban by ignoring the restriction.

Thames Valley Police spokesman James Williams said: “Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, Thames Valley Police has been unable to issue fixed penalty notices to motorists who fail to comply with the no left turn traffic sign at the junction of the A40 Elsfield Way and Jackson Road.

“Police cannot issue fixed penalty notices to motorists who fail to comply because such an offence does not come under the umbrella of fixed penalty notices.

“However, we have discovered that tickets can be issued at this location for failing to comply with the traffic regulation order.

“This has been discovered in the last month. The penalty notice for this offence is £50 and non-endorsable.”

The ban on left turns was first introduced by the county council in 2005 as a safety measure to cut out rat running by drivers heading west from the Headington direction and was made permanent in 2007.

Between January 2007 and last September there have been three minor injury accidents at the junction, but no serious or fatal collisions.

Wolvercote and Summertown county councillor Ms Fooks said: “Residents are pleased that the police have now discovered the right mechanism for fining drivers ignoring the ban.”