CCTV 'spy cars' will be banned

Halstead Gazette: CCTV 'spy cars' are to be banned CCTV 'spy cars' are to be banned

The use of CCTV "spy cars" to catch people who park illegally is to be banned, the Government announced, marking a victory for drivers and shoppers.

The move will rein in "greedy councils" who use the method of fining as a "cash cow", and bring to an end the "plague" of tickets being issued by post.

Parking wardens will instead 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.

Councils will still be able to use the CCTV to issue postal tickets for any offences that occur on critical routes, such as those near schools and bus lanes, bus stops and on "red routes".

There has been a marked increase in the use of CCTV to enforce parking regulations since it was introduced under Labour in 2004, and nine million parking fines are now handed out by local authorities in England every year, raking in £1.3 billion in 2010.

The ban is being introduced to rein in "over-zealous parking enforcement practices", which the Government says has forced people to shop in out-of-town centres or online, and give motorists and local shops a "fairer deal".

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: "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 for town halls.

"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.

"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."

The ban follows a three-month consultation.

Other measures being introduced include trialling a 25% discount for motorists who lose an appeal against a parking ticket and no longer fining drivers parking near broken meters if there is no other way to pay.

Residents and businesses will have the right to demand a review of parking in their area, including the use of yellow lines and charges, and parking guidance will be reformed so it is less "heavy-handed" with motorists to stop over-aggression from bailiffs.

Councils will also be forced to publish how income from parking charges is used, and the cost of penalty notices will be frozen for the remainder of this parliament.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "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."

Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: "Making the use of CCTV cars illegal is a clear step towards bringing proportionality and rational decision making back to the traffic enforcement process.

"CCTV should only ever be used in exceptional circumstances and when all other options have been exhausted. Yet, for too many councils CCTV cars have become a means of boosting their revenue, with millions of pounds in arbitrary fines being handed to drivers across the country.

"The communities that have been subjected to the over-zealous use of CCTV cars will wholeheartedly welcome the Government's decision to make them illegal."

Comments (3)

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7:38am Sat 21 Jun 14

TheIdesOfMarch says...

a victory for common sense and good will that you only seem to get under the tories.
how would rowan house like one those robotic hoovers converted with a spy cam, roaming around the building, giving out verbal warning emails from a central control, for malingering, shoe shuffling and general miscreant behavior?
thats how we feel !
i knew it would back fire in their faces and punters would start shopping on line staying at home or going to big centers, we vote with our feet colchetser council, give us cheaper parking on sat/sundays.
well done pickles and the blue bloods !
a victory for common sense and good will that you only seem to get under the tories. how would rowan house like one those robotic hoovers converted with a spy cam, roaming around the building, giving out verbal warning emails from a central control, for malingering, shoe shuffling and general miscreant behavior? thats how we feel ! i knew it would back fire in their faces and punters would start shopping on line staying at home or going to big centers, we vote with our feet colchetser council, give us cheaper parking on sat/sundays. well done pickles and the blue bloods ! TheIdesOfMarch
  • Score: 7

8:06am Sat 21 Jun 14

BIGTONE says...

They'll find another way to bleed us dry.
They'll find another way to bleed us dry. BIGTONE
  • Score: 2

5:07pm Mon 23 Jun 14

David York says...

Is it really a victory for common sense?

The Government or at least Mr Pickles, seem to be saying it's ok to employ a warden to walk the streets and hand out parking tickets but not ok to use a more efficient means of handing out tickets to those who park where or when they should not.

Are people really discouraged from coming into York City Centre by the thought that they may get a Parking Ticket.? Are they any more likely to come if our streets are filled by cars out staying their waiting time.

The City has invested heavily in its a Park and Ride policy. That, coupled with a reasonable amount of car parking spaces which the Council has retained, is a policy which I hope will continue.
Is it really a victory for common sense? The Government or at least Mr Pickles, seem to be saying it's ok to employ a warden to walk the streets and hand out parking tickets but not ok to use a more efficient means of handing out tickets to those who park where or when they should not. Are people really discouraged from coming into York City Centre by the thought that they may get a Parking Ticket.? Are they any more likely to come if our streets are filled by cars out staying their waiting time. The City has invested heavily in its a Park and Ride policy. That, coupled with a reasonable amount of car parking spaces which the Council has retained, is a policy which I hope will continue. David York
  • Score: 0
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