New road rules mean your council can fine you up to £105
From today, councils will be able to apply for new powers to fine motorists for a long list of driving offences. Moving traffic offences – which include driving in a bus lane, stopping on a yellow box junction, making an illegal U-turn and going the wrong way down a one-way street – can only be enforced by the police in most areas of England and Wales. Previously there were exceptions in London and Cardiff.
But from today (Tuesday, May 31), all local authorities will be able to apply for the power to fine motorists, from GBP20 for lower level fines paid promptly, up to GBP105 for late payment of more serious transgressions, such as parking on a cycle path. : Learner’s car seized by police as ‘lesson’ was supervised by 15 year old On the same day, bus lane fines are set to increase by GBP10 to GBP70.
Big Brother-style automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used to regulate moving traffic offences, Wales Online reports. Unlike funds raised from speed camera fines – which are transferred to central government – councils can keep surplus funds from moving traffic enforcement to fund highway improvements, environmental projects, or to pay for public transport. The government says it expects councils to issue warning notices for first-time offences, before slapping motorists with fines.
Ministers believe the law change may help “improve air quality through reduced traffic congestion”, and “encourage behavioural shift towards sustainable travel choices” by improving bus reliability and making cycling easier. However, a Freedom of Information request submitted by the RAC revealed that councils in London generated GBP55.7m in revenue from moving parking violations in 2018-19 alone, while Cardiff Council received GBP2.4m in fines. Enforcement of yellow box contraventions attracted the highest amount of fines – a total of GBP30.5m in London and GBP826,424 in Cardiff in 2018-19.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council alone generated GBP3.6m in fines from yellow box infractions, while according to the RAC, Westminster made GBP333,295 from 4,595 penalties issued at just one junction. Commenting on the figures revealed by the FOI request, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “It’s plain for all to see that London boroughs, Transport for London and Cardiff are generating phenomenal sums of money from the enforcement of moving traffic offences. “The vast majority of drivers we’ve surveyed agree that those who stop on yellow boxes, make illegal turns or go through ‘no entry’ signs need to be penalised, but when it comes to extending powers to other councils many are concerned, with 68% thinking local authorities will rush to install cameras to generate additional revenue.”
A Local Government Association survey, highlighted in a House of Commons report released just days before the law change was due to come into effect, found that 90% of local authorities said they would use civil enforcement powers. Some 67% of respondents said police didn’t actively enforce any moving traffic offences in their area. Announcing the law change last year, Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Local authorities will need the tools to manage roads in the way that best serves local needs, which may vary in different parts of the country, and it is this ethos of localism that lies behind our decision to give more powers to local authorities under the Traffic Management Act.”
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