'Greedy' councils banned from using 'spy-cars' that issued £300m in parking fines

Eric Pickles says ban on car-mounted cameras will end scourge of 'over-zealous' and 'greedy' councils cashing-in on unsuspecting motorists

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The Independent Online

Council ‘spy cars’ used to catch drivers who park illegally in England are to be banned, the Government says.

Static and car-mounted cars have been used to automatically issue unsuspecting drivers with parking fines totalling £300 million in the past four years.

The controversial cameras were introduced under Labour’s 2004 Traffic Management Act as an alternative to traffic wardens, and have been used by 75 councils since then.

But last night Communities Secretary Eric Pickles vowed to outlaw the devices, which he described as a “clear abuse of CCTV”.

"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,” he said.

"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.”

The fresh ban follows a three-month consultation with local authorities, who insist the cameras help keep roads safe by stopping drivers parking illegally.

As part of the deal, the cameras will still be used near schools, in bus lanes and bus stops, and on ‘red routes’.

Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said it offered 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".