May 1st 2013 - Council refuses to refund around £1m taken illegally from motorists.
Islington council refuses to automatically refund motorists after it accepted that it should never have issued the fines in the first Place.
Around 11,000 fines were issued at the width restriction in Drayton Park designed to stop large vehicles from using the road. However the alterations to the road late last year did not have the proper consents
The council has accepted that they were wrong and therefore not entitled to the money. They have said that they cannot automatically refund motorists as they don’t have their details. We find this very hard indeed to believe. All the fines were issued over the last few months via CCTV so the council would have had to request the driver’s information from DVLA in order to post the fines to them. How convenient to say that they don’t have the details. They have agreed to refund motorists who go to the hassle of writing in!
March 18th 2013 - 10 Minutes Grace period for motorists in high streets says Eric Pickles the local Government Secretary.
See us on BBC London news (from 17.26).
February 2013 - Massive shortfall in number of motorists using new private parking adjudication service. P.O.P.L.A.
The new adjudication service which deals with private parking tickets is experiencing a massive shortfall in the number of motorists using it. Only 1,342 motorists used it in the first 4 months equating to an average of 4.026 a year which is way short of the 23,000 envisaged. The funding model was based on this figure and the service could lose hundreds of thousands of pounds as a result.
We did write to the transport minister Norman Baker voicing our concerns at what would happen but he went ahead with it anyway. We do not think motorists trust the service which although said to be "independent" is actually funded by the private parking companies themselves. We also think that the website does not state the full facts on what grounds a motorist can appeal. We think that only a truly independent service should be put in place.
February 2013 - Up to 350,000 Penalty Charge notices issued in London in suspended bays may be unlawful. These fines have a face value approaching £40m –
Worse still many councils in London continued to issue fines in suspended bays in full knowledge that the signage was unlawful and 16 boroughs in the capital are still issuing fines in suspended bays without authorization including Westminster City Council.
Councils in London can suspend many thousands of bays over the course of a year so the fines are a big money-spinner.
In January 2010 an adjudicator ruled against Camden council on the basis that the sign was not compliant and so the contravention could not have occurred
As there are no set designs for parking suspension signs The Department for Transport (DfT) must approve the template before it is used on the public highway. So each council must get its own design approved.
It has been reported that the following councils still have no DfT authorisation for their signs: Greenwich, Southwark, Westminster, Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Hillingdon, Kingston-upon-Thames, Merton, Redbridge, Sutton and Waltham Forest.
The following councils received authorisation in 2010 or after: Camden, Hackney, Lambeth, Harrow, Wandsworth, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Brent, Newham, Hounslow, Lewisham and Haringey.
In January 2010 an adjudicator ruled that
"In the absence of a compliant sign the vehicle was not in contravention and the appeal must be allowed.
"No doubt the council will give consideration to obtaining the secretary of state's authorisation."
See our comprehensive section on suspended bays for more information. Simply enter contravention code 21 in the box at the top of the page.
Wandsworth Council starts enforcing an access only restriction and issues £169,000 of penalty charge notices in 3 weeks! -
Hundreds of motorists have received fines for driving into Battersea Square including parents and teachers of pupils at St Thomas's school, residents and owners of businesses. We have investigated the restriction and noticed that there is only one sign where the restrcition commences. By law there should be a sign on each side of the road. At a public meeting in mid November the council agreed to suspend enforcement and refund motorists who have received penalty charge notices. We applaud the councils common sense decision.
November 2012 - New parking bay sensor technology is being deployed by Westminster City Council at a cost of £15m.
The council says that, working in conjunction with an App, it will enable motorists to find available parking spaces. What they neglect to mention is that the sensors are made by a parking enforcement company and are called "meter eyes" Basically when you park the sensor knows it and when you have stayed beyond the maximum time they send a signal to the nearest civil enforcement officer to rush round and slap a ticket on your windscreen! When we dig even deeper we discover that the council will be using the information fed back to them to raise parking charges.Why can't the council just be honest and tell us the real reason up front. We think they are basically highway bandits. Edinburgh council also uses the technology.
New private parking appeals service was slammed by country's chief parking adjudicator in a letter to the transport minister in April
From the 1st October 2012 the government has made the registered keeper of a vehicle liable for a private parking ticket. (unless they provide the details of the actual driver) However they said they would only do this if a new “independent” private parking adjudication service was in place. The current national parking adjudication service outside London was asked to tender but they refused. The chief parking adjudicator Caroline Shepherd raised concerns to the transport minister, Norman Baker, that the proposed service would not be independent but she confirmed that she was committed to a service that “gives confidence to the motoring public that their appeals and complaints will be determined independently, impartially and fairly”
So the British Parking Association instead gave the contract to P.A.T.A.S which are the current London based parking appeals service for London Councils.
September 19th - Clamping and towing on private land to be outlawed from 1st October but beware - private parking tickets.
Instead private companies will issue private parking tickets to vehicles. The Government has now made the keeper of the vehicle liable to pay the penalty even if they were not driving at the time unless they name the actual driver. We have the most comprehensive section around on private parking tickets including all details of the new rules, how to appeal and even summarised court cases. Simply click the link at the top of the page.
September 15th - Five Million parking fines issued in London in a year
In fact the number of fines has increased for the first time in 4 years. We say that the over-zealous enforcement of often minor transgressions of the rules by local authorities is more to do revenue raising than anything else. Often councils regarded as inefficient generally have very efficient parking enforcement departments. Take Brent which managed to issue over 42% more parking fines in the year to over 148,000. Hammersnither and Fulham manged to issue over 100% more fines for moving traffic offences. Even Westminster council managed to squeeze a further 4.5% to a whopping 482,000 tickets. When will it all end. The transport minister has told us that he won't intervene even if councils parking policies do not comply with the law! Yes it's true councils can break the law and the Government won't do anything about it. So much for ending the war on the motorist!
August 2012 - Penalty Charge Notices issued in L.B of Newham ruled illegal
An adjudicator has ruled that the council's cctv penalty charge notices are illegal as they do not comply with the strict requuirements of the Civil enforcement of parking contraventions (England) representations and appeals regulations 2007. This is because they do not comply with paragraph 6 which states "where the recipient of a penalty charge notice makes a request under paragraph 5, the enforcement authority shall comply with the request within a reasonable time.Paragraph 5 refers to the right of a recipient to view footage of the alleged contravention. The adjudicator also said that the PCN does not inform the motorist that the CCTV footage will be made available at one of the offices of the local authority as specified by the motorist. It only refered to the East Ham local Service Centre.
July 22nd - Adjudicator finds against Camden Council at notorious £5m trap -
In June last year we exposed this ridiculous "no motor vehicles" restriction where the council has issued over £5m of penalty charge notices in the last 5 years. The restriction in Grafton road used to be enforced by rising bollards but the council decided that a camera was a better way to go. Whereas the bollard would not let a motorist break the restriction the camera system allows tens of thousands of motorists to carry on through and then receive a £130 fine in the post!. Last year we went on tv and radio as well as in the national press to highlight this. The councillor at the council responsible said the restriction was "ridiculous" and that she would take immediate action. However one year on the council continues. Now an adjudicator has ruled that the signage is non compliant. The council are asking for a review of the decision and if they lose we say they should pay back the millions of pounds that they have taken. A council report also confirms that they know it is confusing for motorists by leaving the old bollard system in situ but they have never removed it. we wonder why? Details of the decision are in our moving traffic adjudicators sectiion.
July 11th - Camden traffic wardens on strike for 48 hours!
They are complaining that the only get paid £8.08 pence an hour which is below the London Living wage. NSL, the company that employs the wardens, is drafting in wardens from other boroughs although it is still expected that the council will lose a fortune in fine income.
Illegally parked Wirral spy car in collision with bus!
25 June 2012
A traffic warden who was sitting in the car which was parked on a yellow line and with 2 wheels on the kerb opened the door just as a bus was coming!
A spokesperson for the council said: "A CCTV vehicle operated by NSL was involved in a minor road traffic collision with a bus whilst carrying out parking enforcement activity on behalf of Wirral Council. "Nobody was injured, although both vehicles were damaged and were taken off the road for repair.”
"A replacement CCTV vehicle has been deployed by NSL so there will be no gap in the provision of parking enforcement services."
The vehicle is a Smart car fitted 11ft 'periscope' camera.. Its primary use is to catch and fine errant motorists who park on zig zag lines outside schools, but it also being used to snap drivers who stop on double yellow lines near to cashpoint machines.
In response to concerns that the vehicle was parked illegally the council spokesman said: “In order for the camera car to carry out its work safely, the car has special dispensation to park in some areas, when necessary, when undertaking enforcement activity. This is reviewed on a case by case basis.”
Westminster council employs 30 new wardens and Hackney installs confusing Olympic signage
30 May 2012 | Watch us on bbc.co.uk/news
Westminster council have taken on an additional 30 traffic wardens to increase the total number to over 300. The new wardens will be enforcing nightime controls and will be issuing £130 penalty charge notices. The council are in a win win situation as the wardens are being paid for via a grant from the greater London Authority and TFL. What we do not understand is why the wardens are starting on the 5th June around 8 weeks before the Olympics!
Meanwhile Hackney council has installed ridiculous new signs that are incredibly confusing. It looks like many motorists will be receiving tickets as they will be confused by signs next to each other - one saying the zone starts and the other saying that the zone ends!
20th April 2012 - Transport for London issues 11,880 tickets in one year in a small stretch of road with illegal signage.
The road is Finchley road London NW3 and transport for London have issued £1.5m of fines in the last year alone. We met them there 3 years ago to point out that their signage was confusing and illegal. They stopped enforcement for a while but then started up without making any alteration to the signage. They must know that the signs are confusing due to the number of tickets they are issuing. Many of the signs point the wrong way. This is disgraceful conduct on the part of TFL. Even more unbelievable is that rather than install compliant signage which would cost a few hundred pounds they are installing a 4th Camera at a cost of thousands of pounds to catch even more motorists. See full piece in the London Evening Standard
April 2012 Car Clamping Firm director prosecuted
The director of a car clamping company has been ordered to pay £4,870 in fines and costs after being found guilty of two breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, he was acquitted of a third charge at Enfield Magistrates Court today (March 27).
A former director of City Watch Parking Enforcement Limited was prosecuted by Enfield Council's Trading Standards Team after an incident involving a City Watch Clamper in a car park at the rear of some shops in Savoy Parade, Southbury Road, Enfield, on August 27. He was ordered to pay £750 for each offence, £3,370 costs and a £15 Victim Surcharge
He was found guilty of:
1) Failing to indicate in a clear manner which parking bays in the car park were available for pay and display use, which caused or was likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision which they would not otherwise have taken and;
2) Failing to indicate in a clear manner that there was an extra 5% levied on the clamping fee for credit card payments, which caused or was likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision which they would not otherwise have taken,
But he was found not guilty of:
1) Engaging in an aggressive commercial practice, namely clamping a vehicle and refusing to release it unless the motorists paid the fee demanded, in circumstances where:
a. The motorist was not first afforded a reasonable opportunity to purchase a pay and display ticket and
b. It was in any event not indicated that a charge was payable for parking a motor vehicle in the relevant space or that a permit was required to park a motor vehicle in the relevant space
Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "This car clamping firm were behaving in an illegal manner and the news Enfield Council has successfully prosecuted them for their abysmal business practices will no doubt be a cause of celebration for motorists everywhere.
"Car clamping firms need to understand that they provide a service, but their actions are always under the closest scrutiny because of the negative publicity the most extreme cases of clamping attract, we are willing to work with properly registered and reputable clamping firms but this case clearly shows we'll do whatever it takes to stand up for motorists and reign in the worst excesses of irresponsible and reckless clamping companies."
We say that this should send out a clear message to clampers that their behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Bournemouth council fine a motorist who pulled over to help a pensioner who had fallen.
Bournemouth council, one of the country's most ruthless, refused to cancel a motorist's penalty charge notice after he explained that he pulled over on a bus stop after seeing an old lady fall over. Mr Jury said "I cannot believe it, I think the council has gone mad. In fact like other council's Bournemouth council is learning fast how much money it can rake in by using CCTV cameras to issue parking tickets. This is the same council that is now issuing 4,500 tickets a year from its CCTV smart car.
Oxfordshire council paints double yellow lines across road junctions and triple yellow lines at the kerb.
Amazingly the council has changed the rule book. They have installed new road humps with double yellow across them.! The department of transport has said that double yellow lines should be painted parallel to the kerbside and not across the road at 90 degrees to the kerb! Of course the lines have no meaning in law and can be very confusing for motorists. The council should remove them immediately in our opinion. You can see the bbc news piece here. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-17201734
March 2012 - Motorists receive parking tickets as parking bays shrink.
As cars increase in size and councils try and squeeze in more bays motorists are getting caught in a pincer movement. West Dorset, Hackney and Merton are councils that have shortened bays. Some councils will only issue a penalty charge notice if the cars wheels are outside the bay markings although we have heard of others that count the car overhang as well. We are not sure whether an overhang can be counted legally so let us know if you have had a bad experience! Of course as more and more motorists park compliantly councils have to look at other ways to issue tickets. Of course the transport minister Norman Baker supports limited size of bays. he is the same minister that wrote to us to confirm that he wouldn't take action even if a council's parking policies did not comply with the law! We thought the government was going to end the war on the motorist.
March 2012 - Traffic wardens in London borough go on a 2 day strike.
Traffic wardens in Ealing have gone on a 2 day strike in protest at the sacking of a colleague. Mr Bhardwaj was sacked from his post by NSL services. The company says that he was sacked for falsifying paperwork and idling at work, Which Mr Bhardwaj denies.
Mr Bhardwaj, 36, who has worked as a parking attendant for five years, said: "Just two months after taking over, NSL started bringing in the quota. We have to issue 1.5 tickets an hour, that's 10 to 15 a day. We can't issue more tickets than there are to give out. We can't make them up.
"If you don't bring in that number they start bullying you and then terminate your employment. More than 10 staff have had their employment terminated and 30 have been disciplined in the past two months."
The council says that "NSL has reassured us that allegations of quotas being used are completely untrue. We expect the highest standards from all civil enforcement officers to ensure parking regulations are enforced consistently, professionally and legally."
However we have seen proof that rewards are given out in Westminster in the form of Argos points to wardens issuing more than the beat average.
Earlier this month warden Hakim Berkani who worked for NSL in Kensington and Chelsea was awarded £20,000 after a tribunal ruled he was unfairly dismissed for blowing the whistle on a quota of 10 tickets per shift.
NSL are considering whether to appeal and deny quotas were in force.
19th January 2012. Westminster Council has abandoned its plans to charge in the evenings and weekends in the West End. This follows the Resignation of the leader of the council Colin Barrow at the weekend.
The council has alienated the community and upset businesses by its plans to charge up to £4.80 an hour in the evenings and at weekends. At a very early stage we became involved in the campaign fighting against the charges.Never in the West End have so many people from so many walks of life united for such a common cause. The council should never have voted to bring in the new controls. We have now discovered that no one who voted for the proposals actually knew how many free spaces on single yellow lines were being removed including Lee Rowley the cabinet member responsible for this fiasco. the figure is 8,400. Of course the costs of over £500,000 will be met by the council tax payer and not the wealthy hedge fund former leader Colin Barrow. This is all good news but e wonder what the council is planning now as it will lose £7m in revenue.
14th December - Westminster Council squanders £0.5m on costs for new parking proposals -
Westminster City council spent around £500,000 purchasing new signs and hiring new staff even though it was fully aware that a high court case against them was likely to be heard before the controls were introduced. It was suggested to them by leader of the opposition Paul Dimoldenberg in November that they should postpone the introduction of the new controls pending the outcome of the high court case against them. The council refused.
We think that this was a reckless decision by the former hedge fund manger and leader of the council Colin Barrow and cabinet member for transport Lee Rowley. Of course it was council tax payers money and not their own that they were risking.. For the sake of a month or so they could have saved their council tax payers a fortune.
We think that they should pay the money back and then resign. The damaging publicity around the world that these controls have generated have caused irreparable damage to the council.
14th December 2011 - Westminster Councils new Sunday and evening charges postponed by high court judge.
The controversial proposals to introduce charging till midnight and on Sunday afternoons in the West End from 9th January has been scrapped.
November 10th 2011
Westminster Council’s CCTV camera fines cancelled by an adjudicator
At least 13 appeals to the parking adjudicator have been upheld in the past few weeks
as the council had not obtained the correct VCA certification for their cameras.
In order to carry our CCTV parking enforcement cameras (known as devices) must be certified by a department within the Department of Transport called the vehicle certification agency (VCA) Without certification the cameras cannot legally be used for enforcement.
Westminster’s cameras on the street are of type DVTel 9840A but the certification is for type DVTel 9840.
In case reference 2110348237 the adjudicator allowed the appeal and confirmed
I “cannot for that reason be satisfied that the camera used is as required a device certified as an approved device by the Secretary of State. I am not therefore satisfied that evidence of this contravention has been gathered by an approved device and thus find that the contravention has not been proved”.
(this case is in full in our adjudicators decisions section under CCTV enforcement)
In the past 2 weeks at least a further 12 cases have been upheld by the adjudicator.
Westminster council say that their devices are in fact approved but different adjudicators do not agree.
It may be that Westminster have to pay back millions in fines to motorists as a result of this. Please note that these appeals were won at adjudication. If you have received a CCTV penalty charge notice from Westminster you may have to go to adjudication and of course there are no guarantees. However we haven’t heard of anyone losing at appeal.
We have been passed a standard grounds of appeal statement used successfully so please let us know if you would like a copy. Members can email us for details and also for the other case numbers.
October 11th 2011
Westminster Council delays implementation of controversial parking controls until January 9th 2011.
They say it is to help over the Christmas period when there is a congestion charge holiday and also when occasional visitors come to the West End. We say that they knew this when they agreed to introduce the controls on the 1st December. We think it could be that they have simply run out of time to introduce the controls on 1st December. For example they are not due to start the statutory consultation for at least another week and we understand that they will be employing new traffic wardens directly rather than using their existing contractors so they will need to recruit a new army of Traffic Wardens and train them up.
No one wants these Sunday and evening controls and they are simply not necessary. Business will suffer, residents will no longer be able to have friends and family park for free in the evenings and on Sunday afternoons and churchgoers will be hit. The Council will however make up to £7m a year from the controls and we understand that their parking department has not been performing as expected in terms of income.
Richmond Council offers refund to parking fine drivers
Richmond Council is writing to every vehicle owner wrongly issued with a penalty charge notice inviting them to apply for a refund.
The council said more than 18,500 penalties given between April 2009 and April 2011 by CCTV cars could not be imposed following a court ruling.
It has agreed to repay more than £1m in wrongly issued penalty charge notices.
Council Leader Lord True admitted tickets were issued "when the authority should have known better".
The council said it had taken the decision despite not being legally compelled to do so.
The tickets were issued by council-operated CCTV patrol cars which did not have the correct licence.
A ruling that the charges were unlawful was given by the independent Parking Tribunal Service after a motorist appealed against his penalty charge.
Speaking to the full council, Lord True said the council was putting its money where its mouth was.
He added: "For too long people have perceived local authorities as acting in a predatory and money grabbing manner when it comes to parking enforcement.
"I pay tribute to the motorist who pointed out the problem. His good old British doggedness has ultimately led the council to this decision."
Letters will be sent in the coming weeks to the registered owners of the vehicles which received fixed penalty notices.
No further proof will be required from the owners to claim their refund because the council has the records of everyone who was fined.
The cost of refunding the wrongly issued tickets will be covered by expected underspends in the council's budgets and from reserves, the authority said.
2nd September 2011- Herts County Council issues 10,000 bus lane fines in a month in one bus lane!
1st September 2011
Number of penalty charge notices issued in London has fallen by less than 1% in the last year despite reductions in the amount of traffic. Transport for London issue 95% more tickets for moving traffic offences such as yellow boxes.
It would seem that London's councils are as agressive as ever in enforcing London's Streets as despite a fall in the number of vehicles figures just released show the number of penalty charge notices (pcn's) issued has fallen by less than 1% in the year to March 2011. In fact some councils have substantially increased the number of tickets issued.
Transport for London are the worst offenders. The number of parking tickets issued by them in the year has increased from 289,168 to 342,073 (an 18% increase) and worse still the number of tickets issued by them for moving traffic contraventions has increased from 79,538 to 155,399 a whopping 95% increase. We have exposed some nasty areas of their enforcement including the "trap" at Victoria station, the impossible box junction at Battersea Rise and recently we have learned that they have issued over 40,000 tickets at one box junction in Archway Road which has been ruled illegal by an adjudicator. They are short of money and have even said that they intend to start charging on Red Routes to raise revenue which we understand would be illegal. Boris Johnson has a lot to answer for as Transport for London are milking motorists at the worst possible time and this can only harm London's fragile business's.
Barking and Dagenham increased the number of penalty charge notices that they issued by almost 400% in the year to 34,750. We have exposed one box junction where they took thousands from motorists even though the box was illegal. The council accepted that it was illegal but refused to pay back the money. Instead they placed a very small add in the online addition of a local newspaper inviting motorists to contact them.
Kensington and Chelsea council who recently increased parking charges to raise revenue (which is illegal) are the only council in London to clamp. They clamped 8,661 vehicles and towed away more than any other council (6,316)
Hamersmith and Fulham council increased the number of penalty charge notices for moving traffic offences by more than 100%
Westminster councillors vote to introduce evening and Sunday parking charges and controls in the West End.
10 August 2011 | Permalink
On the 1st August Westminster's cabinet voted to introduce Sunday and evening parking charges in the West End of London. They say it is to deal with increased demand for parking and that it will help residents, visitors and businesses find a space more easily. We say this is rubbish because-
Charging residents and visitors up to £4.40 an hour to park will not help them. It will allienate residents and destroy businesses.
By stopping parking on single yellow lines in the evenings and on Sundays they are actually removing hundred and hundreds, if not thousands, of parking spaces. So how does this help?
Westminster accept that parking demand in the evenings has fallen by 10%!
We think it is about revenue raising and one of the councillors who we believe was involved in this has confirmed it!
Mr Floru wrote: "As more cuts are apparently not in the offing, the money needs to be found elsewhere. If it is not raised through direct charges for services to users - such as parking - then the council tax for all must be raised."
Also we have been passed a report which states
The report also said that
“The areas of Parking and Community Safety have been earmarked to contribute the majority of the additional £14m highlighted"
We have other evidence as well.
There is currently massive opposition to these new controls from Residents to Casino operators and from churches to the low paid workers that work late in the evening. We hope that someone will mount a judicial review and we suspect that many people will be complaining to the local government ombudsman. We are happy to provide the documents that we have free of charge. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Westminster Council's "treating motorists as cash point".
27 June 2011 | Permalink
Further to documents obtained by us the Telegraph today reports on how Westminster Council is seemingly using motorists to raise revenue. This would be illegal. Paul Dimoldenberg the leader of the opposition at Westminster says "Westminster conservatives are treating motorists as their own cash point".
Information that we have uncovered seems to suggest that the upgrade of their CCTV system in 2009/10 was for revenue raising purposes and not traffic management. The council is issuing up to 6,000 penalty charge notices a month from small black dome cameras on lampposts. Many motorists who pull over are being sent £130 fines in the post. Many cameras are directed at cash points.
Westminster will shortly announce plans that will almost certainly mean longer parking controls in the West End including Sunday charging. They say that they are doing this for various reasons including the Olympics and demand for kerb space. We have been passed a document that says that officers had been told to "look more closly at parking and community safety to find further reductions (or additional income)" The original plans to charge until midnight were unveiled just 6 weeks later and would raise an additional £5.8m for the council.
Lee Rowley the council's cabinet member for parking said "The council does not use parking to raise revenue, but it would be remiss of us not to budget for the future or take into account the full impact of any potential changes to any of its policies".
Video: Motorists complain about confusing signs
June 2011 | View the video on ITN Source
Record number of parking fines issued nationwide
Motorists have accused councils of using the issue of penalty charge notices to motorists as a cash cow to raise much needed revenue. In England and Wales a staggering 4,035,555 parking tickets were issued last year and this is in addition to the Penalty charge notices issued in London which last year totaled 4,850, 000. The situation is set to get worse as the government has extended powers across the country allowing local councils to use CCTV. (see our comprehensive section on CCTV for details on how you may be able to have your cctv parking tickets cancelled) The government is perfectly happy to give even more powers to local councils but the Transport minister Norman Baker has written to us to confirm that the government will not intervene even if local councils break the law when issuing fines!!! Now this is the government which said they would end the war on the motorist. What a country we now live in when councils can even issue illegal tickets with total impunity.
Camden Council's £5m traffic enforcement camera
3rd June 2011
We have exposed this story to the press and television news channels on the 29th May 2011 as we think the public should be aware of what is going on.
Further to the exposing of this scam by us Sue Vincent Councillor for environment has agreed that the signs are "ridiculous" and said that she will be taking action immediately. She went on to say "It is an absolutely ridiculous situation that has been going on for far too long. I will be getting onto this immediately"
Camden council has issued around £5m worth of fines in the last 5 years in a residential street for a confusing part time restriction.
For the last 3 years an average of 800 tickets a month have been issued. That’s almost £100,000 a month of penalty charge notices (PCN’S). The total number of tickets issued between October 2006 and March 2011 is 41,237. The council know that the restriction is confusing and is catching out motorists but they will not do anything about it. They are content just to let the money keep rolling in. Originally the restriction was enforced using a bollard system. Motorists knew where they stood as the bollard was raised at peak times and there was a red light. Out of peak hours the bollard was lowered. However Camden council were not earning any money. Camden switched to a CCTV enforcement system instead in 2006 but never removed the bollard system!. So motorists see that the red light is off and the bollard is lowered and through they go – around 45,000 in 5 years! The council are fully aware that drivers will not abide by the signs as in a report In March 2007 it stated
“The decision to remove the bollard enforcement system was prompted by comments that the Council received regarding enforcement of the closure times, which appeared to be causing confusion to drivers. Many drivers were relying on the presence of the bollards to indicate whether the road was open, rather than the times stated on the signs”.
However the bollards were never removed.
THIS IS QUITE SIMPLY HIGHWAY ROBBERY AND THE GOVERNMENT HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THEY WILL NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT EVEN IF LOCAL AUTHORITIES BREAK THE LAW!
The signs at the location are also confusing and adjudicators have ruled against the council. .
We are aware of a recent adjudicator's decision that went against the council in respect of the signs and details of this and other decisions at this location can be found in our moving traffic section under adjudicators decisions.
Hyndburn Council in east Lancashire may have issued thousands of invalid parking tickets
28th May 2011
A town centre trader exposed the blunder after receiving a parking ticket in March. He noticed that the council's bylaw document, which is the basis for enforcing parking restrictions, is out of date. It still refers to the 1991 Road Traffic act whereas it should refer to the 2004 Road Traffic act. The penalty charge notices which are being issued refer to the correct act but the bylaws are out of date. Motorists who have received tickets are being urged to appeal by campaigners. One said that they expect motorists to obey signs and lines so the council should also get its house in order.
Husband penalised and wife let off identical parking offence.
May 2011 | Permalink
Both Mr and Mrs Conlon fell victim to Merton Council when they changed parking restrictions outside a school during holiday periods without any prior notice to residents. Both their cars were parked in the same location and both received tickets on the same day. Both Mr and Mrs Conlon appealed to the London traffic appeals service. However 2 adjudicators ruled in different ways. The husband's appeal was denied and the wife's accepted even though their appeals were identical.
Westminster council parking policy review
May 2011 | Permalink
Westminster Council has just announced plans which we think will alienate their residents, keep visitors away and harm businesses in the central London Area. Subject to a short consultation period they plan to introduce Sunday Charging in the areas around Oxford Street, Bond Street, Mayfair, Piccadilly, Leicester Square and Covent Garden. In most of these areas they will also extend charging into the evening and possibly until midnight. Motorists will not be able to park on single yellow lines. Westminster say they are doing this to meet the competing needs of various users and to meet the challenges of the Olympics. We have seen evidence that seems to suggest that it may be for revenue raising purposes which would be illegal.
We urge everyone to coment on the proposals or attend one of the workshops they are holding. Visit to www.westminster.gov.uk/parking
Westminster CCTV Parking Cameras may be illegal
May 2011 | Permalink
Council faces cancelling thousands of parking tickets and repaying millions of pounds of illegally collected fines after an adjudicator found against them in 2 cases.
From Barrie Segal - founder of AppealNow.com™
Parking ticket expert, Barrie Segal, the founder of the parking ticket websitewww.appealnow.com says, “Westminster Council will have to cancel tens of thousands of CCTV issued parking tickets after my landmark ruling by the Parking Adjudicator and in my view must stop using these cameras immediately. Furthermore the council also faces the prospect of repaying millions of pounds which they collected using these illegal cameras.”
In two far reaching decision for motorists the parking adjudicator has decided that Westminster Council’s CCTV parking cameras do not comply with the law.
After considering further evidence from Westminster Council and Barrie the parking adjudicator, Carl Teper decided in PATAS cases 211000697A and 2110013024 “ ... that the failure to sequentially number the captured images, by means of a visual counter, to be a procedural impropriety as so defined. .....The appeal is allowed”.
Yellow Box becomes Money Box
May 2011 | Permalink
In Battersea Rise London SW11 Boris Johnson's transport for London (TFL) has been raking in a fortune from an oversized yellow box. We applied to the department of transport (DOT) for further details under the freedom of information act and were shocked to see that our concerns had also been raised by them when they authorised the box junction. Basically they are issuing fines to motorists turning left and right across the junction but quite often you can't see the exit until you are already in the junction. The matter is made worse by a pedestrian crossing which you also can't see until the last minute. When the lights turn red you are stuck in the box. TFL have issued around 9,000 tickets in the last year alone. Before the DOT authorised the junction they expressed concerns to TFL that motorists could not see the exit to the box when they entered the junction. TFL pursuaded them that you could just see it and the box was authorised by the DOT who confirmed their approval but also accepted that motorists "would be left in a somewhat awkward situation" !!!
Landmark CCTV case brings hope for motorists
May 2011 | <a title="Landmark CCTV case brings hope for motorists" href="http://[link2Pag
Wheel clampers face private land ban (17th August 2010)
Wheel clampers are to be banned from operating on private land in England and Wales, the government has said.
The legislation, to be introduced in November, will introduce penalties for anyone clamping a vehicle or towing it away on private land.
Read the full story on the BBC.co.uk/news (Opens new window)
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The £2m traffic camera which has snared 16,123 drivers in three months
Britain's most profitable traffic camera has raked in almost £2 million in just three months after catching out motorists confused by a diversion.
The single camera is earning a staggering £150,000-a-week from unwitting drivers who stray into a street filled with temporary bus and taxi lanes.
The camera earns as much in a week as England and Chelsea football star John Terry – the country’s best-paid footballer – and is driving motorists mad.
If it stays in place for 12 months, the camera – in Victoria, Central London – is on track to issue fines totalling a staggering £8 million.
Lucrative: How the traffic camera at Victoria earns its £150,000 a week
Council found guilty of unfair practices in parking appeals and parking tickets cancelled! (7th July 2010)
Camden council have been found guilty by a parking adjudicator of deliberatly removing evidence from the information given to motorists at appeal. As a result of the council not making a full and proper disclosure the motorist's ticket was cancelled by the adjudicator. This has happend on more than one occassion and it is thought may apply to many thousands of cases where the motorist lost at appeal.The motorists positon was prejudiced because information which the motorists could have used as a basis of appeal had been removed be Camden. Ironically Camden has one of the best records of winning at adjudication!In a landmark parking tickets decision a Parking Adjudicator has held that Camden Council have acted unlawfully and failed to make full disclosure of evidence to motorists when cases are submitted to the Parking Adjudicator. Read more...
Up to 1.5m drivers may have been fined illegally for certain moving traffic contraventions in London. (25th June 2010)
In an appeal to the adjudicator handled by campaigner Barrie Segal it was found that a motorist's penalty charge notice was invalid as it refered to "failing to comply with a sign" when in fact the sign itself was not authorised for use. Under the TSRGD 2002 regulations certain signs are shown but they are not specifically authorised for enforcement under the London local authorities and transport for London act 2003 and the excluded signs can therefore not be enforced.
The affected signs are prohibited turn, prohibition on certain types of vehicles and pedestrian zone restrictions. See our individual contraventions for further details.
Watch us on BBC London - 1.30pm & 6.30pm today.bbc (11th May 2010)
"Drivers in London are paying out thousands of pounds in fines, because of unclear road markings and signs, a motorists group claims." news.bbc.co.uk
Wilton Road: Transport for London issues up to 2,500 penalty charge notices a week at confusing site next to Victoria station. (May 2010)
Transport for London have banned motor vehicles(except taxis and buses) from a very main road next to Victoria station. Whilst they do have signs many motorists do not see them as the restriction starts on a sharp ben when motorists are concentrating on the road and other vehicles. We pointed out to TFL that the restriction would be very confusing for motorists but rather that have a traffic warden on site at the location to direct traffic they have decided to have staff issuing tickets via a CCTV camera to motorists. At face value they are issuing up to £250,000 of penalty charge notices every week.
All over London motorists are falling victim to confusing and even silly restrictions which are enforced using CCTV.
If you have received a penalty charge notice at this location it may be invalid. Adjudicators have confirmed that the enforcing authority should show the sign that you are alleged to have contravened. The penalty charge notices that we have seen issued at this location do not show the sign that is alleged to have been contravened so the contravention may not be proven.
Motorist wins boxing day appeal against Kensington and Chelsea Council
Alexey and Elena Andreev received a ticket on boxing day after parking at a pay and display machine wjich clearly stated "public and bank holidays no charge" Because boxing day fell on a Saturday the councils and many others across the country said that boxing day wasn't a public holiday. Kensington and Chelsea council closed their leisure centres and libraries on Saturday the 26th December because they said it was a holiday but decided to charge for parking and enforce single yellow lines because they said it wasn't.
Shortly before christmas we drew this to the attention of the press and were also interviewed on BBC news. Despite this many motorists did receive tickets and many inserted money into machines. The adjudicators said that "I find that the words on the machine are sufficiently ambiguous to confuse a motorist when parking on a boxing day that falls on a Saturday as to whether charges are required." "If the authority wishes to enforce charges on boxing day when it falls on a Saturday the machine should clearly state so"
We say that Kensington and Chelsea should refund motorists for both the tickets that they issued and also for the charges that they took from motorists. However asthere is a lot of money at stake we assume that they, and other councils, will keep the money raher than refund confused motorists even in view of this decision.
Westminster council agree to place clearer signage on their hidden cameras. (March 2010)
After intense pressure from us Westminster council have now agreed to install clearer signage in areas where it is carrying out CCTV enforcement of parking and traffic contraventions. We applaud their decision to make it easier for motorists to see where CCTV enforcement is being carried out. We still don't agree with CCTV enforcement as it affects businesses, upsets motorists and is against the statutory guidance which the government has issued.
Westminster council in London has just switched its network of over 100 parking cameras cameras back on. (March 2010)
They have been off for a year as they didn't meet the department of transports quality standards. We ask ourselves why have these cameras been upgraded and switched on. Has congestion got worse in the last 12 months - NO. The government have told councils that they should not really be using CCTV unless it is impractical to use traffic wardens.
Enforcement of Diplomatic bays could have been illegal. (Feburary 2010)
There are 344 Diplomatic bays in London of which 198 are in Westminster and 134 in Kensington and Chelsea. Because Diplomatic bays are not "standard bays" special permission is required from the department of transport.
Westminster council have in principle decided to introduce parking charges until midnight in the central area and to stop parking on single yellow lines until midnight. they will also be increasing parking charges to up to £5 ph. (January 2010)
At a cabinet meeting at Westminster held on the 18th Jan they decided, in principle, to extend the charging and enforcement hours of the central controlled zones to Midnight Mon - Sat. They also decided to increase parking charges in most areas including a 100% increase in St Johns Wood and up to £5 ph in central London. This means that in central London which could include the F zone south of Marylebone Road as well as all other zones except B and C (which are north of Marylebone Road) motorists will have to pay up to £5 ph until midnight and will no longer be able to park on single yellow lines after 6.30pm as they to will operate until midnight. What does this mean. (except a massive increase in revenue for Westminster.
Many people will no longer visit shops, restaurants theatres, cinemas etc in the evening so many of these may well close.
Warning - Boxing Day parking controls (updated 23 December 2009)
Some councils such as Westminster Council and Kensington and Chelsea Council in London are charging for parking on Boxing day even though their signs say no charge on public holidays. We assume that they don't regard boxing day as a public holiday this year because it falls on a Saturday. Funny that because their libraries and Leisure centres are closed on Boxing day as "it is a Public Holiday".
All that is going to happen is that thousands of motorists are going to have their Christmas's tarnished by a £120 ticket.
Is your local council charging for on-street parking and imposing fines on Boxing Day?
Westminster council internal report refers to ticket targets of 736,000 this year, loss of revenue, £11.4m surplus for the year,productivity levels and business plans! (November 2009)
The report sought permission to spend around £800,000 upgrading their CCTV enforcement network which didn't meet government quality standards. The report said that without the upgrade Westminster will loose £1.9m in income. The law is clear in that parking enforcement is not to be used for revenue raising. It is for traffic management purposes and yet these words can be found no where in the report. What a country we live in.
CCTV issued parking fines cancelled as council did not place sufficient warning signs telling motorists that CCTV enforcement was in operation. The traffic appeals service also said that CCTV use should be used sparingly as stated in the government guidance issued in March 2008. (August 2009)
We think that this case in Wirral has implications for councils such as Westminster and Camden in London who issue hundreds of thousands of parking tickets each year from an army of CCTV cameras.
For details of the article featured in the Sun click here (external link).
UPDATED: Westminster council pilots new scheme to allow anyone to park in residents bays. (Updated September 2009)
They say it is a residents visitor scheme but the smallprint discloses that anyone can pay and park in the new shared use bays.We say they are taking valuable space away from residents so they can earn more money from residents bays. We were interviewed on BBC London news today 23rd June 09.
Also the signs are positively misleading for motorists and we have brought this to the attention of the council and the department of transport. Pay by phone customers can only pay to park from 10am - 4 pm . They can't park between 8.30 am - 10.00am and 4pm - 6.30 pm. But the street signs simply say chargeable hours 10am - 4 pm. Read more...
UPDATED: Camden's Tickets ruled invalid (Updated September 2009)
Greedy Camden council's tickets from the beginning of this year included a surcharge when making payment by credit card. One of the statutory grounds for appeal is that the penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances.
When everyone is feeling the pinch in the worst recession for generations and the government is trying to help, Westminster Council has increased parking charges in some areas by between 10% and 33%. (August 2009)
They are already making millions more from the introduction of pay by phone parking and obviously have no regard for anyone except their coffers. And the Conservatives say they will give more power to local government. We say they are greedy and should be renamed WESTMONSTER Council instead.
Diabolical enforcement of moving traffic contraventions by Islington Council. (May 2009)
So you are driving along a road and suddenly there are 2 one way signs facing you.The road markings indicate that the road is 2 way, and there are no road markings informing drivers that they must turn right into the side road or do a U turn. In our opinion this is entrapment in the name of revenue raising.
The M11 speed camera that has resulted in a near doubling of accidents. (Updated November & September 2009. First published January 2009)
What may well be one of the most profitable speed cameras in the country is actually causing accidents and injuries and yet Essex Police are refusing to remove it.
The Camera was installed in May 2001 on a busy stretch of the M11 between junctions 4 and 5 of the southbound carriageway. The speed limit reduces from 70mph to 50mph without prior warning, the carriageway narrows from 3 to 2 lanes and just beyond is a speed camera. In February 2008 we witnessed the aftermath of a 3 car pile up immediately in front of the camera. It was obvious that it was the camera that caused the accident because cars were having to reduce speed and merge and then of course some motorists slamm on their brakes when they pass the camera. So we asked the department of transport for the accident and casualty statistics. The camera was installed in May 2001. In the first 5 months of 2001 (pre speed camera) there was one slight accident with 1 slight casualty. Read more...
Appeal against Westminster Council’s use of CCTV for enforcement of parking/waiting restrictions upheld as Westminster council did not even contest it. (November 2008)
Harrow cancels penalty charge notices as they are ruled unenforcable by an adjudicator. Read more...
Westminster Council’s parking tickets on single yellow lines are unenforceable?! Read more...
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