Games quango given power to issue fines

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The Independent Online

The Olympic Delivery Authority is to be granted an array of new powers, including the right to set traffic fines around venues and on official routes during the 2012 London Games.

An amendment to the Olympic and Paralympic Act 2006, currently before Parliament, will allow the authority to seize and hold goods breaching advertising and trading regulations, while the maximum fine for ticket touting will also be raised from £5,000 to £20,000.

The Act already allows magistrates to potentially charge £5,000 for traffic offences. However, it is expected that the fine for vehicles entering special Games lanes set aside for transporting athletes and officials will be set at £200, falling to £100 if paid promptly. By comparison, the standard fine for bus lane contraventions is £120, falling to £60.

Parking fines in Olympic boroughs could also double, though all charges will need to be ratified by the Department for Transport and the London Mayor. The traffic restrictions will be policed in the normal way by local authorities, who will collect the fines.

The AA said it was satisfied with the plans, under the proviso that fines are not imposed in cases of genuine mistakes and minor transgressions.

The Olympics minister, Hugh Robertson, said: "This Bill makes a small number of technical changes to the existing measures to enable us to deliver the Government's commitments to London 2012."

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