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Greedy councils face spy car ban
6:00am Tuesday 24th June 2014 in Southend
GREEDY councils have been banned from using spy cars as a “cash cow”.
The Smart cars fitted with CCTV, used by Southend and Basildon councils, have been used to secretly film offences.
New rules mean traffic wardens will have to fix tickets on to windscreens.
Councils will only be allowed to use CCTV evidence on critical routes, such as near schools and on bus lanes.
Robert Green, 65, of Lifstan Way, Southend, was fined earlier this year as he waited by a bus stop for a car to move away so he could stop in a legitimate parking space. He successfully challenged the ticket.
He said: “These tickets are very unfair and I would support a ban.
“I still don’t believe it will happen. The Government is just paying us lip service.”
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles described the use of spy cars as over-zealous and unreasonable stealth fines.
He said: “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street, raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.”
Malcolm Buckley was responsible for introducing a spy car in Basildon when he was a district councillor. He said he hoped the council would still be able to use it to police parking outside schools.
He said: “Suburban councils, like Basildon, saw it as a quick and efficient way to deter illegal parking outside schools.
“If this can continue, it should not affect Basildon too much.”
There has been a marked increase in the use of CCTV to enforce parking regulations since it was introduced under Labour in 2004. A total of 9 million parking fines are handed out by local authorities in England every year.
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