CCTV Spy Cars to be Axed from Parking Enforcement

Friday, 04 July 2014

To the joy of motorists everywhere, after a lengthy consultation, the Department for Transport has announced that CCTV 'spy cars' will no longer be allowed to issue automatic fines for on-street parking infringements.

English local authorities have seen their parking income climb from £608m in 1997 to £1.3bn in 2010, with nine million fines now issued each year. But it seems that pressure from motoring lobbyists has finally paid off, as the Deregulation Bill will make it illegal for on-street parking enforcers to issue a ticket unless a warden is there to put it there personally.

CCTV parking enforcement will, however, continue on routes where safety is a major concern, including schools, bus stops, bus lanes and red routes; and will continue to be used to identify drivers without car insurance.

In a government press release, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles hailed the news, saying, "Today 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."

Some commentators have suggested that the new rules will make little difference to motorists. Speaking to The Telegraph, Councillor Peter Box, Chair of the Local Government Authority’s Economy & Transport Board, noted that, “CCTV camera cars mainly act as a visible deterrent and, as a result, account for just two per cent of total parking income, while less than one per cent of motorists appeal fines issued by CCTV enforcement.”

Nonetheless, motorists will be pleased to hear that the Deregulation Bill contains other measures designed to help motorists deal with parking fines. These include helping motorists appeal tickets issued as a result of out-of-order parking meters, reforming operational parking guidance to prevent aggressive action by bailiffs, and introducing a Transparency Code so councils show how income from parking charges is spent.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented:

"These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear."



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