THE controversial Bournemouth council camera car made more than £100,000 profit last year, new figures have revealed.
From March 2011 until March this year CCTV camera enforcement across the borough cost the local authority £38,305 in operating costs, equipment maintenance, fuel and Southcote Road depot charges.
But income generated during the same period totalled £138,399, the Daily Echo has discovered.
The camera car was launched in July 2009. From March 2010 until March 2011, when the car was only targeting drivers who park on school zigzags and bus stops, it generated an income of £80,199 with £38,385 expenditure costs.
But in October 2010 – halfway through the financial year – the car was also used to enforce no loading and no waiting restrictions and annual income soared by nearly £60,000.
Figures for 2011/12 are not available yet but are due to be even higher, as they will be for a full year of enforcing school zig-zags, bus stops, no loading and no waiting areas.
The revenue raised is used to offset the cost of enforcement and the provision of car parking within Bournemouth.
Cllr Michael Filer, cabinet member for transport and parking, said: “I support the camera car wholeheartedly. We can’t count the number of lives and serious injuries that have been saved by having the camera car, especially around schools.
“As far as the surplus is concerned, all this money goes back into our roads and into our safety operations. It’s helping to install new cycle arrangements, generally it’s for the good of the town. Without it, these improvements would not happen at all.”
And Bournemouth Council’s parking and traffic manager Gary Powell said: “The increase in income during the second year is due to our decision to start enforcing no loading and no waiting restrictions to help improve road safety and reduce congestion.
“No loading and no waiting restrictions were introduced to prevent vehicles from parking and causing a road safety issue or affecting the free flow of traffic.
“CCTV camera enforcement is not a means of taxing the motorist but an effective way to improve road safety through improved compliance with the restrictions in place."
A DISABLED Southbourne man who was one of the first motorists to be filmed on the council car camera said: “This is an awful lot of money and I’d like to know where it is going.”
Retired businessman Roger Ryder, 68, was fined after being caught parking on a bus stop outside the Co-op in Tuckton.
He said: “I paid up because it is against the law so you can’t argue with that but I’d like to see the money being used to improve the local roads – such as filling in potholes. The last thing I would like the money being used for is putting in more speed humps – we’ve enough of those already in Bournemouth.
“I have a disabled badge and thought about appealing against my fine because I’d just popped in to buy a newspaper and there wasn’t anywhere else to park – but I was told I had no chance so I paid up.”
Winton-based taxi driver Tony Walker, who claimed earlier this year that the camera car was issuing fines “like confetti”, said plans to blockade Bournemouth town centre in protest over parking tickets had been called off.
He said: “At long last common sense seems to be prevailing. We were getting ticketed when we went into shops to get 80 and 90-year-olds who needed a taxi but couldn’t stand out on the pavement waiting for us, in all weathers.”