Friday, 16 August 2013

These New Figures Don't Lie: H&F Conservatives' War On Motorists

To what extent are H&F Conservatives' CCTV
cash cows being misused?
Last June, the BBC's flagship documentary programme Panorama devoted most of its exposé about councils that purposefully entrap innocent motorists on our very own Hammersmith and Fulham Council. They demonstrated H&F's range of cowboy style tricks which the Conservative Administration is pulling to lift hundreds of pounds from thousands of hard pressed local car owners.

H&F Council's response was not to mend their ways. Instead, they spent thousands of pounds of tax payers' money on a misleading glossy leaflet which they posted to voters' homes across the Borough. They said they were not in fact practicing a range of horrible scams to raise money but were simply doing some pretty run of the mill traffic management that is designed to help traffic.

These figuresreleased by London Councils, underline why the Council's excuse is unlikely to be true. They demonstrate how H&F Conservatives have increased the number of moving traffic fines 17 fold in six years earning themselves millions of pounds in the process.
  • Year 2005/6 Moving Traffic Penalty Charge Notices 3,975.00
  • Year 2011/12 Moving Traffic Penalty Charge Notices 72,837.00
The London Councils’ figures also show how, despite being one of London’s smallest boroughs, Hammersmith and Fulham Council topped the list of the 33 London authorities with the highest number of moving traffic fines. H&F issued a staggering 60% more than any other local authority in London and many times more than in neighbouring boroughs.

In fact, H&F Council issued over four times more fines than nearby Wandsworth and two and a half times more than Brent. Some councils in London, including neighbouring Kensington and Chelsea, issued no fines whatsoever.

Panorama documented senior people in the Council celebrating the increased income from motoring fines and admit targeting council employees to raise millions of pounds in more fines. You can review some of the Freedom of Information files here.

Mechanisms for entrapping motorists include:
  • Fixing traffic lights to make it almost impossible not to get caught in a yellow box
  • Changing bus line times halfway down along a route
  • Combining new traffic rules with cameras
  • Camouflaged road signage to entrap motorists
There needs to be some better explanations than the ones provided by the Conservative Administration so far. The Sunday Times first featured the story here. Other local and national press have all asked questions but H&F Council expect this all to blow over and to be able to carry on regardless. I believe we need to get to the bottom of this. It needs to be urgently investigated and reviewed. I will report more as more details are uncovered.

1 comment:

Julian Ollett said...

My wife and I have just had our appeal rejected by H&F and have paid the £65 fine. To take the appeal to the next level would have meant that, had we lost, we would have had to pay the full £130; we are pensioners and £65 is a lot of money to us, never mind £130.
We turned left from the A4 into Gliddon Road and turned, as we have done, without incident, for the last thirty-some years whenever coming back into London from the West Country. It avoids having to struggle through the Hammesmith Broadway traffic, only this time, there was a no "U" turn prohibition.
As I said in my representation of mitigating circumstances, there is no sign on the A4 at the traffic lights, (somewhere where I would be able to plainly see it). As you turn left, the two signs closest to the junction are not visible to the driver of a car turning left (the one on the left is too high and the one on the right, is obstructed by the standing traffic queuing for the traffic light. After this my attention was totally directed to concentrating on safety – not looking for signs placed way above the normal line of vision and/or further up the road.
I did what I have done for years, for decades even: turned left, pulled over to the right hand side of the road and reversed into a gated entrance driveway into a block of flats and turned, without causing any danger or inconvenience to any other road or pavement user, as proved by their film.
I quote from their Notice of Rejection “Drivers have a responsibility to comply with all signs and markings relating to road traffic restrictions and directions” and would say that had I been driving along the road, I would doubtless have seen them. I was however turning round and consider that, given this, my total attention was quite properly directed to road safety as, in this circumstance, this driver considered the main responsibility to be to other road and pavement users. They also say that “ignoring directional signs can lead to traffic delays, accidents and risks to other road users. It can also delay emergency service vehicles.” But it didn’t, as their own film shows beyond any doubt. However there is obviously a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to fining or not fining the motorist. I would love to know how many representations have been accepted……..
Well done H&F – your fine is nearly 25% of our weekly state pension but I’m sure that as a minuscule fraction of one percent of your income from motorist entrapment you will consider it to have been a job well done!!