July 31 2014 Latest news:
by Sebastian Mann
Monday, June 23, 2014
Controversial “spy cars” - which help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in parking fines - are to be banned.
The government announced on Saturday it would make it illegal to use mobile CCTV vehicles on their own to enforce on-street parking.
In one year, nearly £700,000 was raised for Havering Council from penalty charge notices issued by mobile CCTV cameras, which critics have branded “over-zealous” and “unreasonable”.
The ban forms part of a raft of announcements from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) aimed at protecting struggling high streets.
Parking officers are now to carry out all essential enforcement. CCTV, in cars or static, will only be permitted on critical routes such as near schools and in bus lanes.
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.”
Havering Council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Robert Benham, said: “Parking enforcement in Havering certainly isn’t about making money by being “over-zealous” in issuing fines.
“We issued the third lowest penalty charge notices and have the second lowest income from penalties across London, showing that we take a practical and responsible approach to enforcement.”
He added many are in favour of spy cars, “particularly those who live near schools, stations and medical facilities, who often call us and request enforcement”.