Spy camera fine income in York set to top £1/2 million this year

The York Council has issued updated figures indicating the number of Penalty Charge notices issued on Coppergate and Low Poppleton Lane.

ANPR “spy cameras” are in use in both locations.

The figures for Low Poppleton Lane in April are the first to be published since the Council discontinued issuing “warning letters”.

456 drivers were fined on Low Poppleton Lane in April. That could bring in around £20,000 in additional income for the Council.

The picture in Coppergate is similar, with 640 penalty charge notices issued, a big increase on the same month in 2017.

Taking both sites together, the Council could pull in around £500,000 a year in fine income – far above budget forecasts.

The use of “spy cameras” has been criticised in the past as an over-reaction by the authorities to relatively modest traffic problems.

In Coppergate, at least, most penalty notices have been issued to visitors to the City.

Signage, although now legally compliant, is difficult for motorists to interpret quickly as they search the City for their destination.

 

51% of those fined on Coppergate are visitors

ANPR cameras result in 3625 PCNs being issued between July and December

The York Council has finally responded to a Freedom of Information request tabled in January.

The response reveals that fines totalling £218,000 were levied.

£83,580 has so far been received by the Council. Most (2586) paid at the lower discounted fine rate

Since then (in January and February) a further 1131 fine notices were issued. This figure was suppressed by the road works which took place in the area during those months.

Of the fine notices issued in 2017, 1854 (51%) were to vehicle owners with addresses outside the YO postcode area.

Coppergate before ANPR cameras were re-introduced

There were 346 successful appeals against the penalty charge notices. Most of these were from “out of area” taxis and private hire vehicles.

No outstanding fines have yet been subject to a formal recovery process (use of bailiffs etc) .

The cost of administering the penalty charge process in 2017 was £61,958. The process is outsourced to a company from the south of England.

The figures are likely to give rise to concern. The levels of abuse suggest that the signage is still not being readily understood by drivers.

Coppergate fine information on Council web site

There are likely to be calls for a warning letter to be sent to first time offenders.

The Council was criticised in 2013/14 when thousands of fines were levied on tourists in the City who had used the – then restricted access – Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.

The resulting national publicity damaged York as a tourist destination, with its reputation only recently having begun to recover.

Visitor abuse of the restrictions is expected to peak in the summer months.

NB. The Council has not yet published details of the numbers of motorists fined following the introduction of ANPR surveillance of restrictions on Low Poppleton Lane.

Dramatic increase in fines issued to Coppergate drivers

There has been a  big increase in the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued to drivers breaking the access only restrictions on Coppergate.

The latest figures suggest that the York Council could receive as much as £1/2 million in fine income during a full year.

The Council originally budgeted to receive around £100,000 in fine income

The change has come since officials stopped issuing “warning letters” to first offenders.

Since these stopped in the summer, the number of notices issued has crept up to reach 801 in November the latest figure available on the Councils web site 

Coppergate before ANPR cameras were re-introduced

The main concern, when the Council chose to switch ANPR cameras back on at the beginning of the year, was reputational risk. The ill-fated spy camera trial in 2014 – which encompassed Lendal Bridge as well as Coppergate – hit visitors to the City particularly hard with many vowing never to return.

How many of the new batch of offenders is local has not been revealed although Freedom of Information requests should break though this secrecy.

It was pointed out last January, that Coppergate was deserted for most of the day and therefore the camera surveillance was unnecessary.

It seems though that the Council has discovered a major “cash cow” and now needs to maximise the fine income to balance its books.

 

York drivers getting wise to spy camera wheeze?

Coppergate fine trend

The York Council is reporting that expected income from ANPR camera fines may be as much as £266,000 below budget this year.

The cameras were reintroduced in Coppergate in January but have failed to detect large numbers of drivers ignoring access restrictions on the street.

As a result, a report to the Councils Executive says, “operational costs are not realising any economies of scale”

Coppergate before ANPR cameras were re-introduced

Although this may be good news for drivers, it leaves the taxpayer to pick up the bill for the expensive camera system.

We warned before the cameras were activated that, during most of the day, Coppergate was very quiet – part of the economic malaise affecting much of the city centre – and that the cameras were an over-reaction.

Penalty Charge Income from fines at City centre car parks is also £29,000 below expectations.

Traffic signals to be upgraded on Coppergate- road closure from Monday

Coppergate

Ageing traffic signals on Coppergate are set to be replaced by City of York Council from Monday 17 July.

Work is expected to be completed by Friday 28 July. To minimise disruption to residents and visitors work will take place from 7.30am-11pm, seven days a week.

To allow work to take place safely a full road closure will be in place. Pedestrian routes and access to all businesses will be maintained throughout the works. A fully signed diversion route will also be in place.

The work will include a full overhaul of the traffic signal equipment, including changes to the pedestrian crossing equipment to facilitate puffin style near side red and green man displays. There will also be carriageway and footway maintenance works to the raised table at the crossing.

As with any construction work, there is likely to be a certain amount of disruption. Residents are assured that everything reasonably possible will be done to keep this to a minimum, however buses that normally use this street will be diverted and motorists should expect some delays and plan their journey accordingly.
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Coppergate ANPR fines upward trend

The Council seems to be struggling to keep up to date its records of fines imposed following the reintroduction of spy camera enforcement of the access restrictions on Coppergate.

Figures released, covering the period to the end of April, confirm an upward trend.

With the peak tourist season approaching, that trend is expected to continue

Big contracts awarded by York Council

£77,000 for Coppergate camera enforcement

The York Council has let some substantial contracts recently. One of the most controversial is likely to be to  Bramble.cc Ltd for “Parking Services back-office system monitoring of cameras and issuing of notices” for the Coppergate bus lane The companies had office is on the Embankment in London. The size of the contract – which is for one year only – suggests that fine income would have  to rise considerably if taxpayers are to avoid an unexpected bill.

Less controversial may be the award of a contract for the collection of recycling materials in the City centre. The 5 year contract is valued at £1/2 million, runs for 5 years and has been awarded to the Friends of St Nicholas Field.

£60,671 will be spent on caring for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and £362,263 refurbishing Sycamore House mental health centre,

Other recent contract awards have included:

Ranger Hut, Hull Road Vine House Construction Ltd £24,057.41
Haxby Library Demolition MGL Demolition Ltd £48,000.00
Provision of supported care for UASC Sash £60,671.00
Sycamore House Refurbishment F Parkinson Ltd £362,263.00
School Crossing Patrol Signals Tender Dynniq UK Ltd £77,394.80
Structural and visual assessments of City of York Councils Street lighting assets MPH Inspection Services Ltd £150,000.00
Support for Street lighting fault repairs (MEWP) Bouygues UK Limited £30,000.00
ReSurfacing Schemes February 2017 CEMEX UK Operations Ltd £266,011.01
Analysis Software and Licence for Non-Domestic Rates Inform CPI Ltd £45,000.00
Provision of on-line lessons from a virtual school to provide teaching for young people out of school Nisai Virtual Academy Ltd. £10,000.00
ReSurfacing Schemes March 2017 – Tender2 Cemex UK Materials Ltd £78,464.20
Carr Junior School Reroof Works – Phase 2 S Voase Builders Limited £103,376.88
Community Protection APP Support, Maintenance and Licence Multiple award (2) £35,204.00
Westfield Primary School Roofing Watershed (Roofing) Ltd £14,058.00
Lift Repairs Maintenance Contract Northern Elevator Ltd £94,788.00
Support and Subscription for VMWare Phoenix Software Ltd £8,865.00
ICT NetApp Support Softcat plc £8,620.00
Google Maps API for Business Multiple award (2) £15,500.00
WYTF Outer Ring Road upgrade – Land Surveyor Services for the North York Outer Ring Road Junction Upgrade Project Valuation Office Agency – District Valuer £83,280.00
Citrix XenApp Software and Licences Insight Direct (UK) Ltd £53,975.00
Marjorie Waite Court Extra Care Extension – Designer Shuttleworth Picknett and Associates LLP £70,860.00
Contract to supply manpower + vehicle & including tools and equipment to carry out basic maintenance operations (minor civils works) 1st April 2017 – 31st July 2017 Multiple award (3) £50,000.00
Pre Purchase Agreement CYCProcurement £4,178,975.32
York City Centre Recycling Collection Service Friends of St Nicholas Fields £500,000.00
Fujitsu M10-1 Server Esteem Systems Plc £21,674.00
Point of Care Testing (POCT) Alere Limited £90,000.00
Trading Standards Interlink  City of York Council  £3,909.25
Coppergate: Bus Lane Enforcement parking services system Bramble.cc Limited £77,000.00
HGV Driver Certificate of Professional Competence Training Multiple award (2) £16,660.00

Most of the recent contract awards are dwarfed by those let in earlier years. The most valuable awards on the contracts register are:

Childcare Voucher Salary Sacrifice Scheme Fideliti Limited 01/04/2014 £2,400,000.00
Short Breaks Service For Adults with a Learning Disability Lifeways Community Care £2,001,990.34
York Central Financial and Commercial Consultancy KPMG LLP 01/07/2016 £2,000,000.00
Older People’s Community Support Service Age Uk York 20/12/2016 £1,765,000.00
Provision of Marketing, tourism and Business Development services Make it York Ltd 02/04/2015 £1,700,000.00
ENProcure Re-Allies Materials Framework – Distribution and supply of plumbing and heating materials Lot 2 PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies 01/04/2016 £1,614,282.00
Management & Maintenance of Public Toilets Healthmatic Ltd 01/05/2014 £1,600,000.00
An Advocacy Hub York Mind 14/10/2016 £1,500,000.00
Building Services Subcontractors – Package 1 Multiple award (5) 01/11/2016 £1,400,000.00
Provision of Local Registered Bus Services Yorkshire Coastliner Ltd 06/01/2013 £1,400,000.00

The Contracts register (most Councils) can be viewed by clicking here

 

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.

York Council starts to upgrade traffic signals as controversial ANPR cameras set to be switched back on.

anpr cameraThe York Council has confirmed that it will reactivate its spy cameras, which are still located on Coppergate, next Monday (9th).

The cameras were hugely unpopular when introduced by Labour in 2013.

The Council now says, “Traffic restrictions will come into force on Coppergate from Monday 9 January after being advertised in the immediate area and on all approach roads across the city throughout December and January.

To ensure drivers are aware of the change to the restrictions the Executive, on 13 October 2016, approved the phased implementation of enforcement.  Drivers who wrongly enter the street in the first two weeks of the restriction being enforced by the ANPR cameras will be sent a warning letter to inform them of the restriction.

Following this grace period drivers who use the route during the restricted period for the first six months will be issued with a warning letter for the first offence. If further offences occur, and for all offences after the first six months of the restriction, the driver will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). The number of letters and PCNs issued will be published on the council’s website after three months of operation and updated monthly following then for the first year of enforcement.

At the start of December temporary signs were placed around the city centre and all the approach roads to Coppergate to advise drivers that the Coppergate Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) will come into force on 9 January. In addition to the advance warning signs permanent street name signs and advance information signs have been put in place. Enforcement will be by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960s. The council’s Executive has approved the reintroduction of ANPR cameras to enforce the restrictions. The TRO provides the details of the restrictions to be in place every day from 8am and 6pm.

Within the 8am to 6pm period the restrictions for motor vehicles will be:

· 8am to 10am buses and permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) only

· 10am to 4pm buses, permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) and loading/unloading only

· 4pm to 6pm buses and permit holders (inc. taxis and private hire vehicles) only

The reinstatement of the revised TRO was agreed by City of York Council’s Executive on Thursday 13 October 2016. The scheme is fully compliant with the new 2016 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions that came into force in April 2016”.

For more information about the restrictions, signage and ANPR enforcement visit www.york.gov.uk/coppergate

For more information about travelling in and around York visit www.itravelyork.info

How it went last time they switched on the cameras. Many of those fined were tourists who did not understand the restrictions

How it went last time they switched on the cameras. Many of those fined were tourists who did not understand the restrictions

New traffic lights

Traffic lights will be moderdenised

Traffic lights will be modernised

Potentially less controversial is a programme which will see traffic light installations modernised across the City.

Ageing traffic signals on key city centre junctions including George Hudson Street/Micklegate and Skeldergate/Micklegate/North Street are set for a complete overhaul – as part of the largest scheme the city has seen in over 20-years.

Cllr Ian Gillies, executive member of transport and planning, said: “We’ve listened to residents and recognise that our traffic signals are not as reliable as they could be.  Investing now will help to bring our systems into the 21st century, saving vital time spent otherwise on repairs and maintenance and more importantly saving money from the public purse.

“By investing in the basics now, it will help to keep York’s roads moving, improving journey reliability and the overall driving and commuter experience in York for future years.”

The last major overhaul of York’s traffic signals was in the mid 1990s with the introduction of the city’s new Urban Traffic Control system (UTC), which controls the city’s transport network.

Over the years, the priority has been to repair immediate maintenance issues, to ensure that the safety and general reliability of the city’s signals requirements are met.

As such, signals have only been replaced on an ad-hoc basis as isolated schemes, or as part of larger improvement projects, such as the works on Boroughbridge Road for the Poppleton Bar Park & Ride service. However, a detailed ‘condition survey’ which inspected the age and condition of every traffic signal in the city found some to be in poor or end of life condition.

Approximately half of the 122 traffic signals and pedestrian crossings in the city will be replaced over a five-year rolling programme with modern equipment.

Work has already been undertaken at many traffic signal sites across the city, including Monkgate pedestrian crossing and Clifton Moorgate/Wigginton Road traffic signals.

The rollout at these key routes will help to further address the backlog of maintenance and ensure the signals continue to operate at the level required.

Works to install new traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signals at the junction of George Hudson Street and  Micklegate will start at the end of January through to March.

Further works are then set to take place at the junction of Micklegate/North Street/Skeldergate between March and April. This will include new low level cycle signals on North Street and Skeldergate to provide cyclists with early starts so they can get ahead of the traffic on the well used National Cycle Network Route 65.

Temporary signals will be installed along these routes whilst the old signals are taken down. Footways may also be closed to allow for the cables/ducting to be installed. It’s expected that this part of the scheme will be completed by early April.

The total replacement programme will cost £2.620m over six years and will be funded through the capital programme budget and the existing Local Transport Plan budget.

Dynniq was awarded a single contract for the traffic signals renewals programme work last year.

For more information about the works visit: www.itravelyork.info/