THE use of CCTV “spy cars” to catch drivers who park illegally is to be banned, marking a victory for motorists and shoppers.
The move will rein in “greedy councils” who use the method of fining as a “cash cow”, and bring to an end the plague of tickets being issued by post.
Parking wardens will now have to fix tickets directly to windscreens instead, making it illegal for councils to issue penalties to drivers using just CCTV cars.
Wirral Council was among 58 local authorities to be highlighted in April for using their CCTV vehicle to capture traffic offences.
The camera car caught a total of 7,513 cars parked illegally between March 2008 and March 2013, resulting in a total income of £239,951 through fixed penalty notices.
Councillor Stuart Whittingham, Wirral’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, told the Globe
: “Parking enforcement plays an important part in road safety, particularly for school
children and the elderly, and the CCTV car forms only a small part of our enforcement activity.
"The car is primarily used to tackle dangerous parking outside schools but is also used in some town centres where there are problems with disruptive and illegal parking.
“The previous government granted Wirral and many other authorities permission to use a camera car, so we have done so on that basis. We are now waiting for firm guidance from central government on the implications of this decision and will adapt our parking enforcement as required by any new laws introduced.”
Councils will still be able to use the CCTV cars to issue postal tickets for any offences that occur on critical routes, including those near schools, bus lanes, bus stops and on red routes.
But they will be forced to publish how income from parking charges is used.
The ban follows a three-month consultation.