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‘Cash cow’ ‘spy cars’ and parking CCTV face axe under plan
Local authorities in England could be banned from using CCTV cameras and “spy cars” to impose parking fines on motorists under new Government proposals unveiled on Friday.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said councils were using parking fines as a “cash cow”.
He said local authorities using parking to supplement their income were acting “outside the law” and should prioritise tackling people who are “negligent or inconsiderate in terms of parking or causing dangers to others”.
In Bradford, the local authority unveiled its new £50,000 CCTV car in May, which patrols the district’s schools, catching motorists breaking the law and fining them £70.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council’s executive member for the environment, defended the practice, saying it helped keep children safe.
He said: “One of the biggest issues that schools come to the Council with is about the behaviour of inconsiderate motorists, and quite often it’s the parents who are taking their children to that school. They park on the zig-zags outside the school.
“They should realise they are endangering their children’s lives and the lives of other children.”
Coun Thornton denied Bradford Council’s main aim was to generate money.
He said: “It is absolutely not a cash cow. Certainly in Bradford, what we set out to do was to target those who park in dangerous positions – on zig-zag lines outside schools or by crossings.
“We don’t have targets set on income generation, we are after people who are causing a public danger.”
Mr Pickles said the Government was also looking at increasing the “grace” period for motorists to get back to their vehicle before being fined from five minutes to 15 minutes.
He also suggested it will be made easier to challenge wrongly-issued tickets.