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.

Low Poppleton Lane spy camera rethink

Day time only operation now proposed. Concessions for moped riders.

A report on the Low Poppleton Lane spy camera controversy has been published. We pointed out two months ago that the number of motorists caught by the Number Plate Recognition cameras seemed to be disproportionately high.

Over 2500 drivers (now increased to over 3300)  had been caught misusing the “bus gate” in just 5 months. The Council is currently pocketing around £30,000 a month in fine income.

Motorists contacted us to say that the signage was unclear (from the Boroughbridge Road direction). It was a problem for drivers of high cab mobile homes (there is a caravan site nearby). Others claimed that Sat Nav systems didn’t recognise the restriction.

We asked that the report reviewed these issues and that a survey of offenders be undertaken to try to understand why so many were ignoring the restriction.

The report fails to address these fundamental questions.

The Councils own consultation exercise found that most respondents were opposed to the bus lane, many saying that it was unnecessary since the sugar factory had closed, while others pointed to additional mileage, and risks encountered, by using the northern by pass.

A meeting next week is being recommended to introduce revised hours of operation. The restriction will apply only between 7:00am and 7:00pm.

In addition, powered two-wheel riders will be allowed to use the road as may taxi drivers. The latter two changes would bring the restriction into line with other bus lanes in the City.

Any revision would be introduced on a trial basis, raising again the question of whether Sat Nav systems would be updated to reflect the restriction.

Officials say that revised road markings have been introduced by there remains a suspicion that the Council has not yet got this right.

Council asks if Low Poppleton Lane spy cameras should remain?


Residents and businesses are being encouraged to feedback their comments on the experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which was put in place on Low Poppleton Lane earlier in the year.

So claims the York Council.

However, they are being very coy about some of the facts behind the restriction. You must work quite hard to find out how many fines have been issued for contraventions of the bus lane.

It turns out to be around 30 per day. 

We find that surprising for a suburban location. Almost as surprising as the 8000+ tickets issued to drivers in Coppergate since cameras were reintroduced there (see below)

We hope that the Council will publish details indicating what proportion of the offenders are local.

The Council – if it is to persist with ANPR camera enforcement – could useful do a survey of drivers who have been fined.

The signage may meet the legal minimum requirements. Whether the signs are understood by all may be worth probing?

Either way we still think that a warning letter should be issued to offenders before fines are levied.

There also remains the problem of the use of the bus lane by powered two wheelers.

We were assured that the dangers of diverting moped users on to the nearby northern by pass (A1237) were understood and had expected that a waiver allowing them to use the bus lane would be in place by now.

But no action has been taken and the official advice remains to “push” the motorcycle along the adjacent cycle path.

A council media release says “Enforcement commenced in April using a CCTV ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system on the bus lane, which replaced the rising bollard system on Low Poppleton Lane. The ANPR system issues motorists who breach the restrictions with a Penalty Charge Notice

The aim of this was to help increase pedestrian and cycle safety by encouraging people to comply with the traffic restriction and ensuring the smooth operation of the bus timetable that serves the nearby area.

As the Experimental TRO has been in place for more than six months, a decision can be taken on whether to make the TRO permanent or whether to make any changes to the arrangements.

The decision is due to be made at a public decision session by the Executive Member for Transport and Planning on 25 October.  The deadline for all comments or objections to be made is by midnight on Friday 12 October.

Comments can be sent to lowpoppletonlane.trial@york.gov.uk or residents can hand deliver or post their views to: Low Poppleton Lane Trial, Parking Services, Second Floor, West Offices, York, YO1 6GA

All comments and feedback will be taken into consideration at an upcoming decision session on the 25 October. A decision will then be made on whether to make the restriction permanent”.

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.


More spy cameras heading for York

The York Council is planning to install ANPR cameras at 3 more sites in York. The revelation comes only days after it was revealed that the only existing camera site on Coppergate has confirmed a very low level of abuse of the access restrictions there.

Now the Council says that it will install cameras at:

Foss Islands Road

  • Foss Islands Road Retail park
  • Shipton Road by Rawcliffe Bar &
  • Low Poppleton Lane (replacing the existing, unreliable, rising bollard)

The cameras are intended to enforce bus lane access restrictions.

The Council has published a list of 9 further locations which the cameras may also be introduced.

Shipton Road

The bus companies have told the Council that journey times area not adversely affected at present by vehicles misusing bus lanes in the City.

Cameras cost £15,000 per location.

In addition, there are some ongoing maintenance and fine processing costs plus the cost of improving signage (£10,000).

The cameras require very clear warning signage (the first attempt at ANPR enforcement on Coppergate failed this test).

Vehicles must travel 50m in the bus lane to trigger a penalty.

Shipton Road

The Low Poppleton Lane plans are likely to be particularly scrutinised.

The rising bollard dates for the days when sugar beet lorries used to deliver in the area.

Now it simply prevents a “short cut”.

The whole area needs a comprehensive management plan as part of the proposed redevelopment of the old school/sugar factory site. Plans are recommended for approval at a planning committee meeting taking pace next week (click here)

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.

Coppergate spy cameras set to return

anpr cameraThe York Council have issued a statement saying that their Executive will be asked to approve an amended Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for Coppergate at a meeting on 13 October “in a bid to help reduce congestion in the area and improve York’s bus services”.

There is no congestion in the Coppergate area for most of the day and the York Council refuses to publish bus reliability information – so there is no way of knowing how it might be affected by any “congestion”

The council’s Executive gave approval in June to advertise a TRO to provide bus priority in Coppergate that could be enforced using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) equipment. The aim of the TRO is to help improve York’s bus services by reducing congestion in the Coppergate area.

Due to the prominent location of Coppergate it was decided to advertise the TRO for six weeks rather than the statutory three week period. Eleven representations were made during this period with the finalised TRO taking into account comments received from the emergency services to help them better serve the community.

The draft Traffic Regulation Order provides the details of the restrictions to be in place every day from 8am and 6pm.

In summary within the 8am to 6pm period the restrictions for motor vehicles will be:

· 8am to 10am buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

· 10am to 4pm buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and loading only

· 4pm to 6pm buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

If the amended TRO is approved Executive will also be asked to approve enhanced signage to alert motorists of the TRO ahead of and during implementation. Options for the increased warning signs include

· temporary advance warning notices at 28 locations across the city

· permanent advance warning signs at five locations

· carriageway surfacing and markings at either end of Coppergate

Alongside this there will also be a grace period where drivers will be sent a warning letter during the first two weeks of the scheme. After this a first offence warning letter will be issued to motorists for the following six month period.

If Executive approve the recommendations it is proposed that the scheme will be in place from early  2017.

Executive takes place on Thursday 13 October from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public

Click to read the report.

New traffic restrictions set for Coppergate – a chance to object as spy cameras set to return to York.

Little sign of traffic congestion on Coppergate!

Little sign of traffic congestion on Coppergate!

Traffic restrictions are set to be reintroduced on one of York’s key public transport routes.

A new Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to create a bus lane for Coppergate will be advertised this week allowing people to see the technical traffic regulations for the new restrictions. The TRO is a statutory public notice which allows people to comment on the technical Order.

New restrictions – enforced by spy cameras – were introduced in 2013 by the then Labour controlled Council – prompting 2 years of controversy and, eventually, leading to a climb down by the Local Authority when it was told it had acted unlawfully.

Traffic restrictions have been in place on Coppergate since the 1960s. The council’s Executive has approved the reintroduction of automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR) to enforce the restrictions.

The draft Traffic Regulation Order 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, taxis and private hire vehicles only
  • · 10am to 4pm buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and loading only
  • · 4pm to 6pm buses, taxis and private hire vehicles only

Due to the prominent location of Coppergate the formal legal consultation has been extended from the required three weeks to a six week period. The formal legal notice will be printed in local media, displayed on notices in the Coppergate area and sent to all properties on Coppergate. Anyone wishing to view the draft order and statement of reasons can do so at the council’s West Offices or online at www.york.gov.uk/coppergate

Coppergate spy camera return – a bad idea!

Coppergate timing confusionIt seems that more confusion is in store for motorists hoping to drive down Coppergate.

As we reported last week it appears that the Council is not only going to restart the enforcement of access restrictions on the road, but they intend to do so using the same discredited spy cameras that led to over 12,000 drivers being unlawfully fined.

A Council meeting next week seems likely to add to the confusion surrounding the Coppergate restrictions. A report quotes revised restriction times of 8:00am – 6:00pm.

This is in conflict with the hours quoted in the local newspaper last week (8:00am – 7:00pm).

The Council’s decision in 2013 was to change the access restriction hours to 7:00am – 7:00pm. It prompted much of the confusion which led to so many drivers being fined.

It seems we face the same problem again.

The truth of the matter is that, as the photos below show, Coppergate is very lightly trafficed for much of the day. There is little justification for tinkering with access restrictions when the City centre is struggling to recover from the bad publicity generated by the Boxing Day flooding.

The spy cameras are disliked and expensive to manage.

Reinstate a 8:00am – 6:00pm restriction and – if necessary – have an occasional enforcement visit by an uniformed officer.  But keep the cameras switched off.

No traffic on Coppergate on a mid week afternoon

No traffic on Coppergate on a mid week afternoon last week

Empty properties on Coppergate

Empty properties on Coppergate

York has been quiet so far this year

York has been quiet so far this year