The Conservative party has announced plans to ban councils in the UK from using static and car-mounted CCTV cameras to catch people parking illegally. The moves are part of a joint consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport.
There are 75 councils in the UK which currently have permission to use CCTV cameras to enforce parking restrictions, under the Traffic Management Act 2004, and the Conservatives claim cameras and spy cars have issued fines totalling more than £300 million in the past five years.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said the Government wants to “rein in over-zealous parking enforcement” and not see CCTV cameras used for the purposes of raking in large sums of money for councils.
He said: “Parking spy cars are just one example of this and a step too far. Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council coffers.”
Pickles later told the Telegraph: “I believe that CCTV should be used for catching criminals, preventing crime – not used as a great casino for Local Authorities to get some more money.”
Cllr Tony Ball, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, hit back at the proposals and defended the use of CCTV cameras and camera cars as more than just revenue-raising tools for councils.
He said: “Camera cars have been instrumental in keeping children from being hurt or killed on the way to school, and CCTV plays an important role elsewhere in monitoring traffic flow and keeping cars moving.”