Claims have been made that the use of the ANPR cameras, to enforce traffic restrictions on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate, has been suspended.
The Council would have had little choice but to do this as, if having received independent advice that their use was unlawful, the Council could have faced maladministration claims from any drivers who received PCNs.
The Council have refused to say whether PCNs have been issued over the last 2 days using ANPR evidence.
The Council have, however, said that the traffic order has not been revoked and the signage is still visible. That means that a uniformed police officer could, in theory, try to enforce the restrictions.
The traffic adjudicator yesterday also highlighted other flaws in the Councils management of the restrictions, so any PCN would be likely to be rescinded on appeal.
The Council Leader has now belatedly decided to blame Council officials for the fiasco.
He has asked the Chief Executive to undertake an internal review the matter, describing the Councils actions as “not to a standard that I would expect”.
Given that the Chief Executive and Council Leader work hand in hand on a daily basis this particular piece of political camouflage is unlikely to fool anyone.
It is reminiscent of the comments made in Labour party Emails earlier in the year when they sought to distance themselves from the unpopular plans
An all party scrutiny committee should – meeting in public – undertake a proper review of what went wrong on a project that has seen the City being ridiculed across the whole country.
In the meantime the Lendal bridge trial should be suspended. The cameras in Coppergate should be switched off at least until they can be proven to be lawful. Enforcement of restrictions there should once again rest with the police.
Meanwhile the Lib Dem Leader says that the Council has “lost control of events”
Liberal Democrat Group leader Keith Aspden says Labour run York Council has “lost control of events” after yesterday’s ruling on Lendal Bridge.
Yesterday the Government’s independent traffic adjudicator found that the council has “no power” to issue fines on Lendal Bridge or Coppergate. Despite this, the council has said that the closure restrictions will remain in force while they are seeking legal advice on the ruling and are considering having an ‘internal’ review.
In an e-mail to the Chief Executive Kersten England and Labour Council Leader James Alexander, Cllr Aspden says the council has “lost control of events” and it is “untenable” to continue with a closure “that the Government’s Traffic Adjudicator has ruled is wrong” and which the council has “no power” to enforce.
Cllr Aspden calls for the ANPR cameras on Lendal Bridge to be “switched off immediately” and a full public cross-party scrutiny inquiry to take place to determine how the council has found itself “in a position where it is essentially acting unlawfully”. He has also challenged the council to say whether it plans to refund the 53,000 motorists fined since August, how much this would cost, and how much legal advice on the ruling is costing York Council.
Cllr Aspden commented:
“Since yesterday’s ruling the council seems to have just buried its head in the sand. What we need is decisive leadership to prevent things getting any worse.
“Lendal Bridge should be reopened and the cameras must be turned-off immediately. To do anything else would be extremely reckless and would risk doing further damage to York’s reputation. The council is opening itself up to costly legal challenges and claims of maladministration if it continues to enforce a policy which it has been told is essentially unlawful.
“We also need to know if the council has any plans to refund the 53,000 plus fines issued so far, how much this would cost, and how much legal advice is costing and is likely to cost in the future.”
Cllr Aspden is awaiting a response to his e-mail.