Ban on CCTV cars would be ‘illogical’, say Bromley Council

PUBLISHED: 15:30 04 October 2013 | UPDATED: 15:30 04 October 2013

Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cars equipped with CCTV cameras used by councils to catch motorists parking illegally could be banned - but Bromley Council have slammed the idea as “illogical”.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced plans to do away with the vehicles - dubbed “spy cars” - to let traffic wardens do the job instead.

The cars are estimated to have been used to issue 10 million fines worth £301million nationally in the past five years.

Bromley executive for environment, cllr Colin Smith, said : “It saddens me to say that Bromley Council disagrees completely with the Department for Communities and Local Government over this and fears that the minister must have been extremely poorly advised by his staff to have arrived at such an illogical conclusion, however populist it might appear at face value.

“Is it seriously being suggested that cameras shouldn’t be used to stop car drivers parking in loading bays, disrupting business deliveries leading to dangerous parking by heavy vehicles and of bus stops too? Why have any parking rules at all on that basis?”

Mr Pickles takes another view. He said: “We want to rein in these over-zealous and unfair rules on parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money.

“Parking spy cars are just one example of this and a step too far. Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council coffers.”

Civil liberties groups called for councils to be more transparent about the level of surveillance from the cars.

But the Local Government Association, representing local authorities, said the cars help keep children safe near schools and improve traffic flow.

Cllr Smith added: “There remains a steady waiting list amongst the borough schools for more visits by the vehicles.

“The idea that a warden can run down the road to ‘ticket’ a motorist is plain ludicrous given that everyone knows that the motorist in question will simply drive off before the warden can reach them.”

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