We have discovered that during the first week of the Lendal Bridge closure around 1000 drivers per day were caught by enforcement cameras.
This would have generated up to £480,000 in fine revenue, had the Council not agreed to an amnesty.
However, no formal decision was taken by the Council on the amnesty, so questions still need to be answered about who took the (admittedly correct) decision to waive the income.
An independent company is processing the ANPR recognition results for the Council. They are understood to be Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions Ltd of Northampton. No details of the payments due to the contractor have been revealed or whether such payments vary in relation to the number of penalty notices issued.
The situation on Coppergate is equally bad.
Here the times of the access restrictions were extended with minimal publicity.
Many drivers continued to observe the old hours resulting in a large number of offenders.
The Council announced only yesterday that the fines for the first two weeks of the Coppergate restrictions – which were introduced on 1st August – had also been waived.
Why this information was not made available in August remains unclear.
Now the Council has said that around 3000 potential offenders have been caught on camera since the 16th August. Although some of these may win appeals against the penalty notices, potentially the Council could receive £160,000 in fine income for just two weeks of the restrictions.
That is equivalent to £5 million a year!
What must now be clear to even the most ardent advocate of ANPR cameras, is that their use to monitor traffic restrictions of this sort needs to be properly advertised in the period up to their introduction.
Their existence and purpose must also be clearly signed on approach roads.
The Lendal trial was rushed in by the Council and its implementation has been bungled.
Like the citywide 20 mph speed limit, it is being imposed on an unwilling population.
The trial should be suspended and a proper review conducted into the problems that have occurred.
The city’s reputation is at stake and the prosperity of the central area could be irreparably damaged if a halt to the trial is not called.
No “footfall” figures – showing the number of shoppers in the central area over the last few days – are yet available, but we fear the worst.
The blunders may prove to have put the worthy cause of increased pedestrianisation in the City back by a decade.