PARKING officials are to review the way they hand out tickets after the government announced plans to drastically restrict the use of camera cars.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced what he called a ban on the use of the “spy cars” – although they can still be used on bus lanes and around schools.
Bournemouth was thought to be the first council in the country to introduce a CCTV car for parking enforcement in 2009, with Poole following suit in 2011.
Bournemouth said the move was a response to the dangers caused by illegal parking around school gates, which were highlighted in the Daily Echo’s Parking Mad cam-paign.
But by 2012-13, the number of drivers caught parking on school zigzags had fallen to 94 from 138 the previous year, while the total number of tickets issued had risen 66 per cent in a year to 4,922.
Cllr Michael Filer, above, cabinet member for transport, said: “Generally, we have plenty of parking around, especially in the town centre.
“There are areas where people take liberties and cause inconvenience and that’s where the camera cars are used.”
He added: “Eric Pickles has done Bournemouth enormous favours in the past by allocating us over £22million in grant for our cleansing service and, by and large, has done a good job for Bournemouth. I can’t say I’m happy but if this is the situation, we’ll have to abide by it.”
In 2012, Bournemouth taxi drivers threatened a blockade of the town centre over the number of cabbies being booked for stopping in bus stops, and the Daily Echo revealed that 481 innocent motorists had their fines waived in a three-year period.
Poole’s camera car made headlines when a good Samaritan was fined for parking on a pavement to help a man in difficulty in his mobility scooter – and when a driving instructor was fined because his pupil paused on yellow lines to reverse around a corner.
Cllr Ian Potter, cabinet member for transport at the Borough of Poole, said he would be looking at the detail of Mr Pickles’s announcement with officers.