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Bexley Council's 'spy car' could be scrapped
BEXLEY Council’s controversial “spy car” could be taken off the road under new government proposals.
Local government secretary Eric Pickles says he wants to "rein in over-zealous and unfair rules" adopted by councils who use the cars to maximise their revenue from parking fines.
Pickles believes traffic wardens should replace the vehicles, which use roof-mounted cameras to catch motorists parked illegally.
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.”
Bexley Council's CCTV car
The cars could be scrapped as early as next Easter with a government consultation paper to suggest amending legislation under the Traffic Management Act to make the CCTV cars illegal.
Cllr Gareth Bacon, Bexley Council’s cabinet member for environment and public realm, hit back at Pickles’ claims.
He told News Shopper: “They are used for the safety of residents, to stop motorists parking on double yellow lines, not with income targets attached to them.
“I don’t think that’s over-zealous, unfair or covert.
“Three quarters of the time they are around schools to keep children safe. They are not a means of trapping motorists and are massively distinctive.
“I don’t think some of his (Pickles’) terminology is very helpful.”
Static and car mounted cameras throughout the country have been used to issue more than 10 million fines in the past five years, the Conservatives say.
The vehicles – dubbed “spy cars” – have attracted criticism in Bexley with dozens of motorists claiming they were unfairly ticketed.
Cllr Gareth Bacon
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