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Council issued illegal parking fines after camera error

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject: Council issued illegal parking fines after camera error Reply with quote

Newham Council issued illegal parking fines after camera error.

By Ed Davey BBC London News

Parking tickets were illegally issued by a dozen cameras over at least two years, a London council has admitted - but it refuses to refund fined drivers.

Local authorities are only allowed to use cameras authorised by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

But a Newham Council internal report, obtained by the BBC, shows between 2011 and 2013 it issued 6,840 tickets from unauthorised cameras - making 350,000.

The council says previous cases show it does not need to repay drivers.

By law, only camera models that have been specifically authorised by the VCA can be used by councils.

Otherwise authorities might use cameras that are not of a high enough calibre to be relied upon for evidence.

But Newham Council was using cameras that did not have approval.

When the problem came to light in February 2013, it commissioned accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to carry out an audit of how many unlawful tickets it had issued.

BBC London has now obtained a final copy of that report, which covers tickets issued in the years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

It reads: "Compliance is high (97%); however, due to the volume of parking penalty charge notices issued even a small percentage of non-compliance will have a significant impact on the council's finances.

"Clear instructions should be issued to the parking contractor only to use certified cameras for the identification of parking offences."

With regard to two of the unauthorised cameras, the report detailed: "The parking contractor was instructed not to use these cameras to identify offences. However, 151 PCNs were issued."

The audit recommended the council improves the accuracy of its camera register and monitoring of the private companies it uses to enforce parking.
'Disgraceful conduct'

The council has now cancelled all the parking tickets that were unpaid, writing off a total of 347,376.

But it is refusing to refund those drivers who settled the unlawful fines straight away.

Paul Pearson, of ticket appeal website Penalty Charge Notice, said: "If the cameras are uncertified they can't be used for enforcement - that's the law".

Full story at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-22993060
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