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Ban on councils using CCTV cameras and “spy cars” to enforce parking restrictions

Ban on councils using CCTV cameras and “spy cars” to enforce parking restrictions

A ban on councils using CCTV cameras and “spy cars” to enforce parking restrictions will become law through the Deregulation Bill this autumn. Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, said the decision had been taken, following a three-month consultation, in order to stop “over-zealous” enforcement. Parking wardens will now have to fix tickets directly to windscreens, making it illegal for councils to issue penalties to drivers using just the CCTV spy cars currently used for on-street parking enforcement.

Under the plans, drivers will also be encouraged to appeal against more parking tickets, with the introduction of a 25% discount for those who try to overturn a fine but fail.

Caroline Dunne, Consultant Solicitor specialising in criminal law, road traffic and regulatory offences comments:Whilst the move to prohibit the use of CCTV and spy cars to generate revenue is welcomed the very suggestion that there needs to be further challenges made by those who receive parking tickets, and an incentivised 25% reduction in fine if the challenge is unsuccessful, surely illustrates a lack of trust by the government in those appointed by local councils to enforce parking restrictions appropriately.

Once the bill comes into effect, councils will only be able to use the CCTV to issue postal tickets for any offences that occur on critical routes, such as red routes – on which drivers are not allowed to stop – and outside schools.

CCTV enforcement should not be used as a cash cow

“CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit,” stated Mr Pickles. “Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term. The Government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow,” he added.

Discussing the reforms, Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, comments: “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that schoolchildren are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear.”

Other measures included in the Bill, aimed at giving drivers and communities a greater say on parking include changing the guidance for parking wardens so that drivers who park on an out-of-order meter are not fined and a right for residents and businesses to demand a review of local parking, including charges and yellow lines.

Council revenues from parking fines in England rose from £608 million in 1997 to £1.3 billion in 2010, and 9 million parking fines are now issued each year by local authorities.

Motoring organisations rejoice

Motoring organisations welcomed the reforms: “Some local authorities have used spy cars as mobile cash machines to fleece the motorist. We are delighted that these Orwellian spy cars are being driven off the road,” declared Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association.

IBB’s Road Traffic Offences team is highly experienced in dealing with all types of road traffic cases. Our aim is to help you protect your licence and your freedom to continue driving.

We aim to provide a gold-standard service you can rely on. We can assist you in the following situations: speeding, using a mobile phone while driving, driving without insurance or without a licence, careless driving, fixed penalty notices, driving whilst disqualified, failing to report an accident, dangerous driving, death by dangerous or careless driving, failing to stop, failing identify, and driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

If you or a family member has been charged with a road traffic offence, we can help. Call our 24-hour emergency number:0330 999 4999 for immediate help, or 01895 207928. Alternatively, email caroline.dunne@ibblaw.co.uk for immediate advice.