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Many local authorities now use CCTV as a tool (we say weapon) to enforce parking and moving traffic offences. These cameras are often hidden on lampposts with no signage. Of course by installing signs that are legally required under the Data Protection act 1998 many motorists wouldn't offend but by hiding the camera's local authorities are able to rake in millions of pounds from drivers unaware that CCTV is in use. Many councils now use CCTV smart cars as well. There have recently been several cases where adjudicators have ruled against councils using CCTV. Brief details of some of these decisions are further down on this page. For all CCTV decisions on this site please click the link to "adjudicators decisions" towards the top of this page on the left.
A CCTV car operated by Westminster City Council in order to improve road safety and compliance. You will note that it is parked on a double red line across a pedestrian dropped kerb
Westminster council have a stated policy of providing cctv warning signs at the entrance to their controlled parking zones. In an appeal in June 2012 they lost because, after stating this policy, they failed to provide evidence of the CCTV warning signs to the adjudicator. he said
"Where an Authority has a policy, even if it is one that they are not obliged to have by law, the principles of fairness require that they abide by that policy"
See parking adjudicator's decisions for more info.
A new code of conduct for the use of CCTV cameras has been released. It basically mirrors what is said in the statutory guidance under the Traffic Management Act. You may wish to use it in any appeal although previously adjudicators have not had much regard to the guidance issued under the TMA as they say it is just guidance. The new guidance says
The primary purpose of any surveillance camera system used as part of civil enforcement arrangements must be the safe and efficient operation of the road network by deterring motorists from contravening parking or road traffic restrictions. Motorists may regard enforcement by cameras as over-zealous
and relevant authorities should use them sparingly. Such systems should, therefore, only be deployed where other means of enforcement are not practical and their effectiveness in achieving this purpose is subject to regular review.
You can read the whole thing here
Sainsbury's supermarkets VS Camden Council
This is an extremely important case as clearly the council had not "had regard to" the guidance issued by the secretary of state in respect of CCTV enforcement. (Details can be found below) Sometimes the adjudicators just say "it is just guidance" but here they have allowed an appeal soley on the basis that the council did not follow the guidance and should not have used CCTV. CCTV should only be used where CEO (civil enforcement officer) enforcement is not practical or where it is dangerous to use CEO enforcement. Neither was the case at this location. In fact pretty much all CCTV parking tickets issued by Local authorities are actually issued on the same roads where they have traffic wardens patroling so it is clearly not impractical to use them! We have copied the decision in full in our parking adjudicators decisions section. Just go to parking at the top of the page and then chose adjudicator's decisions from the left hand menu.
The operational guidance issued to local authorities on 31st March 2008 is meant to make parking enforcement fairer. Below is a summary of some of the points within the guidance some of which a motorist can use as the basis for an appeal as enforcing authorities must have regard to the guidance. However although local authorities "must have regard" to the statutory guidance an appeal based on it may not be successful. We have seen a case where the adjudicator said it is only guidance and not compulsory. However in a case on 3rd December 2010 involved Sainsbury's who took Camden council to the adjudicator and won. Full details of the case are on our adjudicators decisions page . Basically Sainsbury's argued that the council had not "had regard" to the guidance issued to local authorities by the secretary of state for transport in 2008. The guidance is clear in that CCTV enforcement should only be used where enforcement is difficult or sensitive. The council had not shown that it had had regard to the guidance before deciding to enforce using a camera. The case number is 211001669A. More details on the parking// adjudicator's decisions page.
It is also worth mentioning that in her annual report in May 2011 Caroline Sheppard the chief adjudicator (England and Wales excluding London) said "Councils cannot simply rely on the vehicle cctv being an approved device, it is how and where it is used that matters" "Enforcement authorities should regularly remind themselves of the transport secretary's guidance and ensure that the use of CCTV enforcement is properly supporting their transport objectives and that it is being applied fairly and with integrity."
To make it easier we have included the actual clause number from the guidance in the left hand column So that you can refer to it in an appeal.
The introduction to the guidance states the following.
Clause 1.2 “The operational guidance”:
“sets out the policy framework within which the Government believes that all local authorities both inside and outside London should be setting their parking policies”.
“advises all English enforcement authorities of the procedures that they must follow, the procedures to which they must have regard and the procedures that the Government recommends they follow when enforcing parking restrictions”.
“tells members of the public as well as local authorities, about parking policies and their enforcement”.
The guidance is published under section 87 of the Traffic management act 2004, Section 87 states “that local authorities must have regard to the information contained in that guidance”.
If a local authority has not followed the guidance then, depending on the circumstances, an appeal to the adjudicator may well be upheld on this alone.
It is all very well for local authorities to issue penalty charge notices for any minor breach of the regulations but they themselves should also follow the guidance when enforcing.
Many local authorities now use CCTV enforcement however in most situations the guidance says that they shouldn’t.
Was your contravention captured by a CCTV camera? Many authorities use CCTV enforcement to capture parking offences but the Statutory government guidance issued to local authorities on 31st March 2008 states the following.
It is recommended by the secretary of state that enforcement by approved devices[such as CCTV] are used [for parking enforcement] only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive AND civil enforcement officer enforcement is not practical.
The examples given in a radio interview by Rosie Winterton former Minister of State for transport are where for example you have a dual carriageway with no pavements which would be dangerous for a traffic warden. In most areas local authorities managed to issue many Penalty charge notices (PCN’s) by using parking attendants before they introduced CCTV enforcement so it is not impractical to use them.
CCTV enforcement should be used Sparingly.
Wow look at Westminster council in London which have installed around 100 parking camera’s despite the guidance.
It is recommended that authorities put up signs to tell drivers that they are using cameras to detect contraventions.-
Some councils have not done this. This may be grounds for appeal in itself although it is no gaurantee that i tcket will be cancelled on this ground alone Also the information commissioners office have confirmed that under the data protection act “signage is compulsory”.
states “ the primary objective of any camera enforcement system is to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the road network by deterring motorists from breaking road traffic restrictions and detecting those that do. To do this , the system needs to be well publicised and indicated with lawful traffic signs”.
The guidance clearly states the situations when CCTV enforcement could be used as follows.
Enforcement on trunk roads and other high speed routes.
It has, in the past, been considered inappropriate for local authorities to use their enforcement powers on high speed roads (including trunk roads) because of the dangers to CEOs. However, the power given in the TMA to use approved devices, [such as CCTV] which are best suited for use in situations such as on high speed roads where stopping and parking are banned, makes local authority enforcement of parking on these roads more practical. Some authorities may now wish to include some high speed roads in their designation orders.The guidance also reiterates the fact that operators operating CCTV surveillance should have specialist training and should achieve the BTEC qualification. Was the operator who captured your contravention correctly qualified.?
It is also worth noting:-
Devices used to enforce parking must be certified by the Secretary of State. In London, there is a transitional period of 12 months ending on 30 March 2009. If the devices are not certified by the Vehicle Certification Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State, the Penalty Charge Notices are invalid and the enforcing authority may risk prosecution.
You may want to check that the camera that was used to catch you was certified.
The DfT website – This has a list of all councils currently certified and copies of their certification letters.
The VCA website – This has general guidance about the requirements for the certification of Approved Devices used for Civil Traffic Enforcement.
If you have a query about an approved device the contact details of the Vehicle Certification Agency are 1, The Eastgate Office Centre, Eastgate Road, Bristol, BS5 6XX, telephone: 01179 515151. www.vca.gov.uk (external link).
We have appealed against a CCTV ticket issued by Westminster council solely on the basis that they should not have used CCTV. Westminster initially refused the appeal and threatened to double the fine but when we went to the parking adjudicator Westminster didn't even bother to contest it. Our appeal was therefore upheld by the chief parking adjudicator.
Obviously each case is dealt with on its own merits and councils do contest some of the appeals made against them. In fact one appeal was lost on this basis in 2010.
Westminster have erected some CCTV enforcement signs at the entry points to some of its controlled parking zones. However these zones are split into sub zones and there are rarely signs at the entry points to their sub zones. Further more the signs that they have erected on the lamppost columns where the actual cameras are are quite illegible due to their size which is much smaller than that shown on the department of transport minimum sizes on camera signs. After a complaint by us the information commissioners office wrote to Westminster council on the 19th May 2009 stating:
"We would similarly advise you that you should review carefully the size of the relevant signs with a view to ensuring the signage in place is sufficiently prominent to be visible to members of the public parking their vehicles in areas where restrictions are enforced".
As at March 1st 2011 Westminster have not changed the signs. You will also notice above that in the statutory guidance the government tells all councils that clear signage must be installed.
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