Labour given 24 hours to scrap access restrictions on Lendal Bodge

The Council’s Labour leadership have been given 24 hours in which to withdraw the traffic access restrictions on Lendal Bridge

If they fail to do so, the government will be asked to intervene and hold a public Inquiry into the fiasco.
May report quote Coppergate
Labour have always been at pains to claim that the funding for the scheme had come from central government,  although in reality the Council could have chosen to use the money on other projects aimed at improving public transport.

Now, with the prospect of the government money going down the drain, plus the possibility of £2 million in fine income having to be reimbursed, the Labour leadership have been told to bring the sorry saga to an end.

Council reports (see right) reveal that doubts about the use of ANPR cameras had been raised within the Council over 12 months ago.

Local government Minister Eric Pickles has been critical of Councils that misuse their powers and particularly those who exploit motorists vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile the Council has been asked to urgently clarify how many motorists on both Coppergate and Lendal Bridge have been issued with PCNs each week since 28th February (when the bridge trial was supposed to end).

A Council statement earlier today suggested that a smaller proportion of drivers had been issued with FPNs but failed to say who made the decision and who decides who should and who should not be fined

Now its officially Lendal Bodge!

The Council have now said that they are no longer issuing fines to motorists misusing the access restrictions on both Lendal bridge and Coppergate.

As we predicated last week, the Council would have been unable to sustain any PCN notices following the decision of the Traffic Adjudicator that ANPR enforcement was unlawful.

Having maintainedCamera for nearly a week that they were “unable to say” whether the cameras had been switched off (as they should have been on Lendal bridge at the end of the trial period on 28th February), the Council has confirmed that no fine notices are being issued.

Apparently the cameras are still recording.

If the Council hopes to use this information, then legally they only have 28 days in which to issue the PCN – much less than the period likely to be necessary for them to progress an “appeal” against the Traffic Adjudicators ruling.

So big brother is watching and waiting

and the Council’s war against its own citizens is stepped up.

The Council statement reads

During the trial 95 per cent of drivers have adhered to the restrictions in place on Lendal bridge and the number of vehicles breaching the restriction had reached a peaked and started to decline. We’ve always said the trial was not to generate revenue, but to reduce traffic going over the bridge and through the city centre, as part of a long-term vision to create an even more attractive and thriving city centre for everyone.

As such, once the six month data collection had been completed, the council reviewed and reduced the levels of enforcement, at its discretion, during the restricted hours. Since this point, not every private vehicle breaching the restrictions has received a PCN. This is in line with similar schemes around the country.

 “Following legal advice on the trial, restrictions will remain in place and recordings will be taken of any breaches of the restrictions along both Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.
Fines will not be issued upon these recordings until further legal process.
Drivers are urged to continue to adhere to the restrictions in place.”

Lendal Bridge and Coppergate fines – York Council acted unlawfully rules independent adjudicator

Call for resignations at Council

Lendal Bridge signs

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for York’s Labour Council it has.

Reports are coming in that the governments independent adjudicator has ruled that fines issued using ANPR cameras on both Lendal Bridge and Coppergate are unenforceable.

The consequences for the Council which has raised around £1 million from fines levied in both locations are likely to be far reaching. Any driver who chooses to appeal against the fine is now likely to have the charge refunded.

In some cases the Adjudicator has the power to order the Council to pay the appellants costs.

In the main, the adjudicator has criticised the signage used to advertise both orders.

He also concludes that Lendal Bridge could not reasonably be regarded as a “bus lane” given the number of exemptions given by the Council.

We have said all along that the Council closed the wrong bridge, in the wrong year and using the wrong method of enforcement.

They compounded their mistakes by failing to consult properly and by relying on inadequate signage.

The Cabinet members with responsibility for the scheme should now resign.

The ANPR cameras should be switched off immediately.

A more measured approach to improving transport systems in York in the future is required.

The full test case adjudication result can be downloaded by clicking here

Lendal Bridge – the saga continues

According to information released by the Council yesterday a decision on the future of the access restrictions on Lendal Bridge will be taken at a meeting being held on 6th May.

However many items on the Councils Forward Programme of decision debates are subsequently put back – some indefinitely.

The Council’s web site has been very “flaky” over the last few weeks with many residents complaining about difficulty in accessing the background papers for meetings with some pages simply “freezing” for long periods of time.

Lendal Bridge in 1868, five years after it was first opened. To  pay for the costs of constructing the bridge, a toll of two pence per (horse drawn) vehicle was charged until 1894. A £60 charge was reintroduced by York’s Labour Council in August 2014

Lendal Bridge in 1868, five years after it was first opened. To pay for the costs of constructing the bridge, a toll of two pence per (horse drawn) vehicle was charged until 1894. A £60 charge was reintroduced by York’s Labour Council in August 2014

The Council has so far failed to supply the month 6 progress report on their web site. This was information that they promised to regularly update.

Some may think that this suggests that some “cleansing” of the data is already underway.

Nor has the Council published the results of its survey of residents opinion  or details of the “public opinion poll” which they announced earlier in the month

The first debate and vote on the future of Lendal bridge will come at the Council meeting taking place on Thursday 27th March. The Liberal Democrats will propose that the ANPR cameras are switched off immediately.

They will also be pressing Cllr Merrett to answer the questions that he evaded at the Council meeting held in December.

The questions ask for information on,

“a)  The number of appeals lodged each week since the beginning of August against PCNs issued for contraventions of traffic restrictions on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

b)  The number of appeals which have been successful each week

c)  The total revenue that the Council has received so far from PCNs following the introduction of the new restrictions on  Coppergate and Lendal Bridge

d)  The weekly changes to journey times (all modes of transport) on each arterial road and on each section of the inner ring road since the introduction of the new traffic restrictions

e)  The numbers of accidents reported on roads in the City centre comparing the last 6 months with the equivalent period in 2012/13

a)  The latest air quality monitoring reports for key sites in and close to the City centre, including the Leeman Road area, and comparing these with last year?”

Lendal Bridge/Coppergate camera fine victims now exceed 60,000.

Lendal bridge notice60,414 drivers have been issued with penalty notices for driving on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate since new restrictions were introduced in August.

Of these 46,323 were caught by cameras on Lendal Bridge while 14,091 were photographed on Coppergate.

The numbers being caught in both locations increased towards the end of January.

The complete figures can be downloaded by clicking here.

Meanwhile the media are reporting that the Council has received £1.3 in fine income.


“Big Brother” fears as more invisible policemen set to come to York?


ANPR camera use to be extended

The Council has announced that it will use camera cars to enforce zig zag parking restrictions outside schools.

This is likely to be of limited value at some schools where some parents park on yellow lines, verges and block access driveways.

Use of such camera cars has been controversial in other towns and cities but  the vehicle may give some comfort to schools and their immediate neighbours.

Ironically the DfT is just completing its public consultation on car parking. One of the options being considered is to limit the use of CCTV cameras near schools!

More significantly in York, Labour Councillors are now proposing to extend the use of number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras in the City.

ANPR cameras have been responsible for identifying over 50,000 drivers on Coppergate and Lendal Bridge, with fines totalling around £1 million already issued.

Clearly this potential cash cow has proved to be attractive to the Council.

It will decide later today to introduce camera enforcement of more bus lanes later this year with a target income of £50,000.

It is also budgeting to receive an additional £100,000 in 2015 from the  “Further introduction of ANPR enforcement measures across the City where network congestion can be improved”.

The budget papers published by the Council make no mention of how much revenue they except to raise from the continued use of the Coppergate (or Lendal Bridge) cameras during the next financial year.

Latest Lendal Bridge report reveals 3000 drivers a week still being fined

 No significant change to Park and Ride bus service journey times as total number fined climbs to 45,000.

The Council have now published an updated report on their web site assessing the impact of the Lendal Bridge closure.

Traffic on Lendal bridge after closure

Traffic on Lendal bridge after closure

Any hopes that the information would be objective and impartial are quickly dispelled as the report resorts to sloganising “York remains very much open for business” whatever that is supposed to mean.

The figures for Park and Ride show small increases in the number of passengers (following a trend evident for the last 6 years over which passenger growth on the services has been sustained each year).

Some services show small reductions in journey times since the Lendal Bridge restrictions were introduced. Others – like the link to the Designer Centre – show increases in journey times.

This rather confirms what is so obvious to many – that traffic congestion, on alternative routes to Lendal, is continuing to increase.

No information is provided on normal “stage carriage” bus services.

There was a 10% increase in traffic volumes on Clifton bridge when comparing November 2013 with the same month last year. Increased traffic volumes on Foss Islands Road are also evident.

The report makes no attempt to assess increases in journey times or costs for drivers. There is no information about pollution levels

The Council has also updated the tables showing the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued to drivers on Lendal Bridge and in Coppergate.

The numbers fined on Coppergate doubled to 595 during the St Nicholas Fayre week.

The number issued on Lendal Bridge is still regularly in excess of 2500 a week.

70% of the tickets issued are to visitors to the City

02-08 Sept (4   days enforcement, commenced Wednesday 1675
09-15 Sept   2015 (6 days enforcement, because of the Skyride event) 2015
16-23   Sept  (5 days enforcement, cameras   updating) 1766
23 – 29   September 2,762 PCNs issued (6 days enforcement) 2762
30 Sep – 6   October 1,885 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 1885
7 – 13   October 2,487 PCNs issued (5   days enforcement)  2487
14 – 20   October 3,640 PCNs issued  3640
21 – 27   October 3,879 PCNs issued  3879
28 Oct – 3   November 4,098PCNs issued  4098
4 – 10   November 1,921 PCNs   issued  1921
11 – 17   November 3,172 PCNs issued 3172
18 – 24   November 2,801 PCNs issued 2801
25 Nov – 2   December 2,553 PCNs issued 2553
15-18   August  (4 days enforcement, commenced   Wednesday) 1085
19-25 August 1741
26-01 Sept 880
02-08 Septd 850
09-15   Sept  (6 days enforcement, because of   the Skyride event) 841
16-22   Sept  (5 days enforcement, cameras   updating and gas works commenced) 324
23 – 29   September 405 PCNs issued (6 days enforcement) 405
30 Sep – 6   October 345 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 345
7 – 13   October 593 PCNs issued (5 days enforcement) 593
14 – 20   October 869 PCNs issued 869
21 – 27   October 755 PCNs issued (6   days enforcement)  755
28 Oct – 3   November 416PCNs issued  416
4 Nov – 10   November 146 PCNs issued # 146
11 – 17   November 240 PCNs issued # 240
18 – 24   November 251 PCNs issued # 251
25 Nov – 2   December 595 PCNs issued 595

– Of all PCNs reviewed, up to Monday 8 December 2013, there was a 30:70 split on YO and non-YO postcodes.

# – only one camera operational.

Lendal Bridge/Coppergate update published. Number fined tops 35,000!

Stand and deliver  Labour revive traditional transport funding in York

Stand and deliver
Labour revive traditional transport funding in York

25,911 motorists have attracted penalty charge notices, for using Lendal Bridge, since ANPR cameras were switched on to enforce restrictions at the beginning of September.

On Coppergate, a total of 9122 drivers have now been penalised.

Together that means that 35,033 drivers have been told to cough up £60 each.

That is the equivalent of over £2 million in fines income.

Of course, the amount actually received by the Council will be less than half that figure as many will pay early to get a £30 discount, while others will successfully challenge the fine.

It is still a damming indictment of the adequacy of the signage used to advertise the restrictions.

Fines levied by week. Click to enlarge

Fines levied by week. Click to enlarge

The figures are admitted in the Councils latest update report on the effects of the new traffic restrictions.

The report is otherwise remarkable for what it hides rather than what it reveals.

There are no footfall (shopper) statistics included, accident and air quality figures are missing, only the effects of the closure on park and ride bus services are reported (journey times up in October) while the normal stage carriage services (which have been hit by increased traffic congestion in other parts of the City) are omitted.

No information on journey times for drivers is provided.

The Council only admits that traffic volumes on Foss Islands Road and Clifton Bridge are up on the same period last year.

The report, such as it is, can be read by clicking here.

Lendal Bridge cameras – high fault levels Council admits


A Freedom of information request has revealed that the ANPR restriction enforcement cameras on Lendal Bridge were not working for long periods in late September and early October.

This will come as little consolation to the increasing number of visitors to the City who are being caught out by bus lane cameras.

Many are using this web site to vent their concerns.

Some say that they will never return to York.

Others are just bemused by the poor signage of the restrictions.

The Council has still not published its assessment report for October

The Council says that, “for technical reasons the cameras on Lendal Bridge were not operational in one or both directions on the following dates”.

  •  13/09/2013
  • 21/09/2013
  • 22/09/2013
  • 23/09/2013
  • 29/09/2013
  • 30/09/2013
  • 01/10/2013
  • 05/10/2013
  • 06/10/2013
  • 07/10/2013
  • 08/10/2013

Lendal Bridge – why no update?

Residents searching the Councils web site for the promised monthly update on the Lendal Bridge trial will be disappointed.

Lendal Bridge closure Nov 2013

Only the September report is available and that is not easy to find.

With footfall down, traders complaining and day time traffic congestion elsewhere in the City at record levels there is a suspicion that data is being “cleansed” before being released into the gaze of Council Taxpayers.

Concern has also been expressed about the speed of some vehicles using the bridge.

As expected, traffic levels are lower now and some drivers are accelerating to the 30 mph speed limit while some visitors are treating the area as an extension to the pedestrian zone.

The Councils evaluation criteria pointedly fails to identify accident levels as one of the statistics for post closure comparison.

The Council would be wise to deploy its 20 mph speed limit signs into this part of the City rather then inflict them on an unwilling population in west York.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats in west York have started a survey aimed at finding out whether York residents want the trial closure to continue.

Very early results suggest that the majority of residents want the restrictions to be removed.