UK & World News
Brakes Slammed On 'Over-Zealous Spy Cars'
Councils in England will be banned from using CCTV "spy cars" to impose fines on drivers breaking traffic rules, the Government has said.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the move "reins-in over-zealous parking enforcement practices" that have been used as a "cash cow" by local authorities.
The ban will now become law through the Deregulation Bill, following a three-month consultation.
Tickets will have to be fixed to the windscreen by parking wardens, making it illegal for councils to issue penalty charge notices to drivers using just the CCTV spy cars.
But councils will still be allowed to use cameras along "critical routes", such as schools, bus lanes, bus stops, and red routes, where traffic must be kept moving for safety reasons.
Mr Pickles, who has long-called for the ban, told Sky News: "We don't want them used to raise money. The priority if for them to be used for public safety and to cut congestion."
He added: "CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.
"Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term.
"Today the Government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow."
The Government says nine million parking fines are issued every year by local authorities in England.
Local authority revenue from parking in England rose from £608m in 1997 to £1.3bn by 2010, it adds.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear."