Thomas Bridge 23 June 2014

Pickles outlaws CCTV parking ‘spy cars’

Councils will be banned from using CCTV ‘spy cars’ alone to enforce on street parking as part of efforts to support local shops.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said the move would protect drivers from ‘greedy’ councils and reign in ‘over-zealous’ parking enforcement that damaged local high streets.

The ban will become law through the Deregulation Bill and follows a three-month consultation.

Parking tickets will now have to be fixed to a vehicle’s windscreen by parking wardens, making it illegal for local authorities to issue drivers with penalty charge notices using CCTV ‘spy cars’ alone.

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.’

Local authorities were accused of raising £1.3bn in parking fines in 2010, while recent estimates suggested town halls used CCTV equipment to issue £312m of Fixed Penalty Notices between 2008 and 2013.

The Local Government Association has consistently warned a ban on CCTV parking cameras could endanger children by making it ‘impossible’ to tackle dangerous parking outside of schools.

Further measures announced by the Government include granting powers to communities and local firms to demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and application of yellow lines.

A freeze on parking penalty charges will also be maintained 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 school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear.’

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