Spy camera fines increase in York

Some motorists may be in for a surprise according to the latest figures published by the York Council in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The number of drivers fined for access breaches on Coppergate and Low Poppleton Lane had, in the past,  been published on the Councils web site.

 These stopped abruptly last October.

Now a Freedom of Information request has revealed that the number of offenders caught fell to zero at both sites in January.

Penalty Charge Notices issued

However, more recently – and despite “lock-down” – the numbers are on the rise again.

During May 268 drivers on Coppergate and 90 on Low Poppleton Lane fell foul of the cameras.

The Council hopes to receive around £1 million in fine income.

There was little justification for enforcing access restrictions during April and May.

Vehicle numbers – mainly used by key workers – on York streets were very low and those bus services which continued encountered no congestion.

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.


Contractors brought in to enforce parking restrictions on York Council estates

Over £14,000 raised in fines

Tudor Road garages - parking clampdown continues

Tudor Road garages – parking clampdown continues

A contract has been let by the Council which will see private contractors enforce parking restrictions on Council estates in York.

In the main, the contractors will patrol garage forecourts and communal areas.

A 3 year trial of a system – which involves issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for £30 to drivers who park in restricted areas – resulted in 900 tickets being issued.

Most were in City centre areas such as Castle Mills although suburban locations like the garage blocks on Tudor Road (21 tickets issued) also formed part of the trial.

Fines levied by site. click to enlarge

Fines levied by site. click to enlarge

Around £14,000, in fine income, was raised by the contractor.

The new contract will extend the enforcement to all similar areas in the City.

The scheme does not cover public highway or verge parking. Damage to verges is one of the biggest problems in some estates with heavy rainfall resulting in verges which have been badly damaged over recent months.
Behind closed doors logo
While we accept that some enforcement  is necessary – if only to allow easy access by emergency vehicles – we believe that the Council should reintroduce its programme of providing dropped kerbs/vehicle crossovers, lay-bys and other, off street, parking spaces.

Where necessary, verges should be reinforced with matrix surfaces.

The Councils decision was taken last week in another “behind closed doors” decision.

The background paper can be read here.

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.