Traffic enforcement camera blasted after raising council £100,000 per weekFri, 07/09/2018
Locals have been left outraged after it was revealed a traffic camera installed by Hackney Council raises almost £900,000 in nine weeks.
James Wood, The Daily Mail, reports:
A local authority is raking in almost £100,000 a week by catching out thousands of motorists with a newly installed traffic enforcement camera.
Hackney Council banned drivers from turning left at a junction in east London in June in the hopes of reducing pollution at a nearby school.
'Poor signage' and a 'difficult road layout' have been blamed by motorists for the small fortune the council has amassed.
As of August 10 the authority had dished out nearly 14,000 fines.
With the cost of a fine standing at £65 if paid within two weeks, the council has generated a whopping £898,235 for itself in a nine-week period.
This works out at nearly £100,000 every week - or £14,000 a day.
One 74-year-old Islington Council worker - who has been using the junction for 30 years - has been slapped with 21 tickets, totalling £1,365.
The country's highest earning speed camera only made a comparatively low £1.5 million - or £250,000 a month - in the six months between April and October 2016, despite being located on London's busy North Circular Road.
Residents have vented their frustrations at Hackney Council's perceived money-grabbing tactics.
Twitter user Baz commented: 'This restriction is poorly conveyed (judging by the amount of PCNs [penalty charge notices] issued and the number of repeat PCNs), and is definitely not in the spirit of the law, regardless of whether the signage meets the standard required or not.'
Also writing on Twitter, Trajon2000 said: 'Councillors will be giving themselves a big pat on the back for that, oh and a big payrise.
'Just a thought here, if they put more of these signs around the borough to catch people out, could we have a council tax reduction please.'
The changes to the junction follow the introduction of a 'school street' outside nearby London Fields Primary School.
The left turn ban is in operation between 7am and 10am, and 3pm and 7pm from Monday to Saturday.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: 'While some drivers will knowingly ignore streets signs like this, the vast majority wouldn't do so intentionally.
'The number of fines being given to drivers at this junction suggests something is wrong - and it might well be that the sheer amount of signage and a difficult road layout is to blame.
'The sign is immediately past a busy pedestrian crossing and between two sections of bus lane on Mare Street.
'A driver would have just moments to read all the traffic signs and decide whether they were permitted to turn left.
'And unlike on a straight section of road, they would have no opportunity to correct the manoeuvre if they then realised their mistake.
'We would like to see the council being innovative in introducing digital bus lane signage that makes it much clearer - perhaps by means of red and green LEDs - for motorists to see if they can use a certain stretch of road.
'A review of all the street signage around the junction would also be very welcome.'
A Hackney Council spokesman said: 'The changes to this junction are part of our pioneering school streets initiative which is improving air quality and making it easier and safer for families to walk and cycle to and from school.
'The notices already meet all Department for Transport requirements, and we have now added additional signage to ensure all drivers comply and help make our children's school journeys healthier.
'While it is the responsibility of drivers to read this signage and adhere to the road closures, we will of course listen to representations where a driver feels that a fine has been issued unfairly or received multiple fines during a short period.'
Asked why the restrictions were also in place on a Saturday, a spokesman for Hackney Council said: 'The banned turn into Richmond Road was designed to run alongside our pioneering school streets scheme.
'It operates on a Saturday to reduce traffic at Broadway Market, making it safer on market day, and reduce general through-traffic in the area, which residents have been expressing concerns about for a number of years.
'In consultation, people in the local area supported a scheme that operated Monday - Saturday at peak hours. 66% of people who responded to the consultation supported the banned turn into Richmond Road.'
Handing out nearly 14,000 fines in this period does suggest that there is an issue with the placement of the camera and lack of signage available for drivers. With the local public seething, it seems that the council will have to take into consideration the views of their community and consider making a change.