Bournemouth and Poole's camera cars to stay despite Eric Pickles' move to ban "spy car" fines (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Bournemouth and Poole's camera cars to stay despite Eric Pickles' move to ban "spy car" fines
BOURNEMOUTH and Poole’s controversial camera cars could be off the streets in a matter of months after a top government minister branded them “cash cows”.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday (FRI) said that councils were breaking the law by using parking enforcement powers as a money maker.
Authorities in England could be banned from using CCTV cameras and ‘spy cars’ to impose parking fines on motorists under new government proposals unveiled yesterday.
Mr Pickles said councils using parking to boost their income were acting “outside the law”.
But Cllr John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “The safety of our local residents is of paramount importance us, which is why our camera car usage focuses primarily on pedestrian crossings, bus stops, bus lanes and school entrances.”
He added that the council received £5 million a year from parking fees and fines, with £800,000 of that coming from penalty charge notices dished out by camera cars.
“So clearly the lion’s share comes from parking fees we receive from our car parks, which I’m pleased to say, offer some of the best value parking in the South coast,” Cllr Beesley said.
Julian McLaughlin, head of transportation services at Borough of Poole, said it was waiting for government guidance, but would continue using the camera car until it was told otherwise.
He added: “A recent independent review of car parking in Poole has identified that the use of the camera car is an efficient way of providing a parking enforcement service around schools, bus stops, taxi ranks and no loading/waiting areas. Since the introduction of this type of technology in Poole there has not been a step change in income generated.”
Poole issued 2,423 fines from its camera car in 2012/13 and had dished out 1,189 in this financial year at the end of August.
Fines are £70, but reduced by half if paid within two weeks.
A Government consultation paper will suggest amending legislation underpinning the Traffic Management Act 2004 to outlaw the practice.
Mr Pickles was reported yesterday as saying that the law could be changed “well before Easter”.
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