So how much does the York Council expect to raise from Coppergate camera fines?

The York Council has published a list of contraventions of it’s revised ANPR camera enforced access restrictions on Coppergate.

To date, 82 Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) have been issued.

Some drivers have received warning letters for “first offences”

Potentially the PCNs might bring in around £35,000 in a full year – less if fines are paid promptly or appeals are successful.

However, we are only just entering the tourist season and we know from the Lendal Bridge debacle that many visitors to the City are vulnerable to these byzantine access regulations. York’s international reputation is once more on the line.

It seems unlikely that the Council will reach its budgeted income figure of £100,000 – unless of course it intends to roll out ANPR camera enforcement to other streets.

Administration costs for spy camera enforcement systems are high so it may be the taxpayer who eventually faces a hit.

Coppergate traffic restrictions to be re-introduced?

It looks like the York Council will be considering reintroducing traffic restrictions on Coppergate at a meeting taking place on 30th June.

The restrictions were effectively suspended following a legal decision that they were not properly signed and that the use of ANPR  enforcement cameras was therefore unlawful.

Coppergate - Time to move on

Coppergate – Time to move on

The Council had to agree to repay fines of over £385,000.

 Since the legal ruling, restriction signs have remained in place but the cameras remain switched off. The police have not been enforcing restrictions because of the uncertain legal position.

Most observers feel that the present situation – where the access restrictions are effectively advisory – probably represents a step forward and many will resist any further tinkering by the York Council.

Police unveil latest development in fight against travelling criminals

North Yorkshire Poanpr cameralice has stepped up the fight against travelling criminals with the introduction of a new generation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

As part of a £1m investment in ANPR announced last year, the first phase of the new, moveable cameras – known as re-deployable cameras – has been rolled out across North Yorkshire.

The cameras use the very latest technology which produces enhanced images and the ability to capture distinguishing marks on a vehicle.

North Yorkshire Police are the first police force in the UK to use this model of ANPR camera.

ANPR works by reading the registration number of a vehicle, and after checking the number against a database of information, will issue an alarm if the vehicle is linked to criminality.

It is used by the police to prevent and detect crime, as part of ongoing investigations, post-incident investigations, as well as helping in the search for vulnerable missing people, wanted criminals and to target uninsured and untaxed vehicles. 


More Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras on York streets.

Criminals warned as £1m Camerahi-tech crime-fighting project steps up

North Yorkshire Police’s £1m hi-tech investment programme to tackle travelling criminals is gaining momentum with the opening of an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Hub.

ACC Kennedy in ANPR Hub

The ANPR Hub is based in the Force Control Room with dedicated staff who will monitor and assess real time information relating to vehicles identified as being connected to criminality and build up intelligence about their movements.

This latest move is part of an ongoing £1m investment in ANPR which also includes new, rapidly deployable cameras, more mobile cameras, fixed site cameras and in-car cameras as well as the fitting of ANPR cameras to some of the force’s mobile safety cameras and the introduction of a second Road Crime Team.

North Yorkshire Police already uses ANPR which has proved to be a highly effective tool, particularly in support of Operation Hawk, the force’s campaign to protect our communities from travelling and cross-border offenders.

York Council loses Coppergate appeal

Another £400,000 to be paid out to fined motoristsCamera

The traffic adjudicator has rejected the York Councils appeal over fines issued for breaches of the  Coppergate access restrictions.

It means that drivers who were caught and fined during the trial period (August 2013 – March 2014) on the route will be entitled to have the fines repaid.

It also puts paid to any idea that the Council may have of switching its spy cameras back on.

The Council may have a right of appeal to the High Court over the ruling but it seems unlikely that the new Councillors, who are due to be elected on 7th May, will pursue that costly option.

In total over £2 million was unlawfully taken  by the York Council in fines on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.

Even when it was clear (after only 6 weeks) that the trial had gone badly wrong and should therefore be suspended, prominent Labour Councillor Dave Merrett refused to suspend the restrictions.

His chances of re-election on 7th May must now be fading along with the hopes of other Labour Cabinet members who also failed to act to end the scandal.

Both major opposition parties have promised a full public inquiry into the circumstances which led the Council to act unlawfully. Labour declined to hold such an inquiry when they were in office, with Green Councillors also voting against a probe for the truth.


Lendal Bridge and Coppergate – York Council stopped issuing fine notices at the end of March

Coppergate restrictions still not being enforced

ANPR fine notices issued Click to access

ANPR fine notices issued Click to access

A Freedom of Information response has revealed that the York Council stopped issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) – using its ANPR camera information – on 30th March 2014.

That is a week earlier than they admitted in the media at the time.

The figures cast doubts on the claims being made by Labour Councillors early in April when they said the controversial restrictions were still being enforced.

A few days later, senior Council officials clamed that the number of notices issued had been “scaled back” but declined to say by how much or in what way.

In reality it seems that the camera enforcement was abandoned even before the Lendal Bridge restrictions were formally jettisoned on 12th April.

The situation on Coppergate appears to be different, at least  in so far as the restrictions remain in place.

However no PCNs have been issued on Coppergate for over 6 weeks.

Contrary to claims made in the media (that the number of drivers ignoring the restrictions was reducing), the latest figures reveal that during March around 50 motorists a day were still being fined on Coppergate.

Things were little better on Lendal Bridge where 2135 motorists were caught on camera during March alone.

The Lendal Bridge trial closure had been due to conclude at the end of February and the Labour Council leadership was heavily criticised for not suspending camera enforcement until the results of the trial had been assessed.

In total 74,000 transgressions had been identified by the cameras before they were abandoned at the end of March.



The Council is now awaiting the results of its appeal against the Traffic Adjudicators ruling that both sets of restrictions were unlawful.  If the Council fails to win, then it could face costs of over £1 million with many drivers likely to seek the return of unlawfully imposed fines.

The Appeal could take several more weeks to be concluded.

An Inquiry into the collapse of the whole project is expected to start in the summer using the Council’s “scrutiny” mechanisms.

Although the camera evidence is no longer being used on Coppergate, the restrictions there could – in theory – be enforced by a uniformed police officer.

Lendal Bridge – Council process blunder?

Council Forward Programme click to enlarge

Council Forward Programme click to enlarge

The Council published late yesterday their decision notice on lifting the Lendal bridge traffic restrictions. It referred to a meeting which had taken place a week earlier.

The notice that the meeting would take place was also published yesterday (which is no help for residents trying to follow the Byzantine meanderings of the Councils processes)

The Council claims that the decision was taken under “delegated powers” by the Council Leader acting alone.

The decision notice does not include any background report (which is in itself highly unusual given that the last Council meeting was prevented from discussing the issue because “all the facts weren’t available”)

The Decision has not been labelled as “key” meaning that it cannot be called in for consideration by an ”all party” committee.

However a decision on the Lendal Bridge issues was, and is, due to be made by the Cabinet on 6th May 2014.

Key decision items have to be included in what is known as the Forward Plan and an entry was made for this policy item.

It confirms that it is a “key” decision.

The Councils Monitoring Officer needs to explain these inconsistencies, and pretty quickly.

No one doubts that officers could have switched off the ANPR cameras at least when their use was found to be unlawful.

But a decision to revoke the traffic order required an approach in line with the published Forward Programme.

It is likely that the Local Government Ombudsman would take a dim view of the Councils manoeuvres.

In the meantime the Council should agree to set up a scrutiny committee to look into the irregularties.

Lendal Bodge – the unanswered questions

Lendal bridge - always been busy at 5;00pm

Lendal bridge – always been busy at 5;00pm

No matter how much Labour may spin their decision to scrap the access restrictions on Lendal bridge they still have a lot of questions to answer.

Around 80,000 motorists want to know when their unlawfully imposed fines will now be refunded?

Residents will want to know why the ANPR cameras were not turned off at the end of the trial period (28th February) ?

Why has there has been no announcement on the future of the Coppergate restrictions?

Who will take responsibility for the mistakes?

The Lendal Bridge restrictions will be removed this weekend.

Labour Councillors have made the decision tonight based on a report that has so far not been made public.

An all party inquiry into the shambles is promised.

It is also worth remembering the warnings that were given last summer and which Labour chose to ignore.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Keith Aspden commented;

“Labour were left with no choice but to reopen Lendal Bridge after the ruling from the Government Adjudicator last week. Even so this is an embarrassing U-Turn from a Labour Cabinet which has insisted all along that the closure is lawful and the restrictions were working.

 “It was a botched trial from the start which has made congestion worse and damaged local businesses. It is now time for the Cabinet Member and Leader to take responsibility and resign.

 “We also need urgent answers over whether the council will continue to use taxpayers money to fund its legal battle and whether it plans to repay the 53,000 plus motorists who were fined unlawfully.”


Lendal Bridge/Coppergate latest


Behind closed doors logo

The media are reporting that Labour Councillors will decide tonight whether or not to scrap the access restrictions on Lendal Bridge.

This may be so. They have to find a way out of the mess before they get embroiled in expensive legal proceedings and before the government is asked to step in and take action.

Labour operate a strict “whip” system. That means that whatever the majority of the Group decides everyone subsequently votes for the party line at committee and Council meetings. It also means that electors never actually find out what their representatives actually think of proposals!

There is talk of having a “Special Council Meeting” to discuss and determine the issue at some time over the next week.

Lovers of the theatre might appreciate such an event, but it is not strictly necessary.

The Lendal Bridge restrictions, at least, can be suspended immediately (as they should have been on 28th February) with a proposal to formally revoke the traffic order being approved at the next Cabinet meeting.



It was, after all, the cabinet that approved Dave Merrett’s report and proposal at its May 2013 meeting.

But getting to the bottom of what really went wrong will require a detailed, almost forensic, examination.

That is where the Councils all party scrutiny committees should be involved.

That would leave the tricky problem of Coppergate.

Although access restrictions are never popular with everyone, general traffic has been excluded from Coppergate for nearly two decades.

What Labour did a year ago was to extend the hours of operation of the ban and install ANPR cameras to enforce the new restrictions.

As we pointed out yesterday, Council officials had raised concerns in early 2013 about the plan but the changes were made anyway.

We doubt if the majority of residents would want to return to a day time  free for all on a narrow street like Coppergate, which lies in the heart of the central shopping area.

We suspect most citizens would however like to be consulted on options.

In the meantime the Council had better concentrate on finding ways of addressing the issues raised by the traffic adjudicator.

Lendal Bridge – Council appeal could take over 3 months to be determined

Lendal bridge notice

Sources within the Council have admitted that it is unlikely that the result of their appeal against the ruling of the Traffic Adjudicator on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate will be known for over 3 months.

This means that if a decision is – as planned – taken at the May cabinet meeting, on whether to make the restrictions on Lendal Bridge permanent, then Councillors will not know whether they could be legally enforced.

It also means that anyone driving on the roads at present – and for several weeks into the future – could not have PCNs enforced against them because they would be outside the 28 days time limit.