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Pickles calls for CCTV spy cars to be scrapped
7:20am Monday 30th September 2013 in Local news
SPY cars are a “step too far” according to Eric Pickles as he set out proposals for parking enforcement changes.
The Brentwood and Ongar MP was speaking in his role as Secretary of the State for Communities and Local Government as new parking reforms were announced on Friday.
Measures set out by the Government included banning CCTV spy cars used by councils to catch motorists parked illegally from being used for on-street enforcement.
Since 1997, revenue taken from parking nationally has risen from £608million to £1.3billion in 2010 with it being hoped the plans will help traders and drivers.
Mr Pickles said: “Excessive parking charges and unfair parking fines push up the cost of living and undermine local high streets and shopping parades.
“We want to rein over-zealous parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money.
“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.”
The comments from the politician have been criticised by council bosses across the country.
Tony Ball, vice chairman of the Local Government Association's Economy and Transport Board, said parking fines are there to keep roads clear for law abiding drivers.
Mr Ball, who is leader of Basildon Council, 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.
"Nobody likes getting a parking fine but the fact that less than one per cent go to adjudication shows that in the vast majority of cases councils get it right.
"Income from on-street parking fines and charges is spent on parking services with any money left over spent on services like fixing potholes and providing subsidised bus travel to children and the elderly.”