Town halls 'want to milk drivers with speed fines'

Town halls ‘want to milk drivers with speed fines’: Motorists will be exploited as cash cows if councils are allowed to collect penalties, campaigners warn

  • Town halls are seeking control over 20mph and 30mph zones in new proposals
  • They argue lack of traffic police makes roads dangerous, leaving residents at risk
  • London Councils said it should be given the power to set up new speed cameras

Motorists will be exploited as cash cows if councils are allowed to collect speeding fines, campaigners said yesterday.

Town halls are seeking control over 20mph and 30mph zones, arguing a lack of traffic police makes roads dangerous – leaving residents at risk.

The plans have been put forward by London Councils, a body that represents the capital’s 32 boroughs. 

Setting out the proposals, it said the maximum fine of £130 for council infringements was insufficient and would need to be raised. 

Town halls are seeking control over 20mph and 30mph zones, arguing a lack of traffic police makes roads dangerous – leaving residents at risk 

Jack Cousens of the AA told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘Residents would rather their council focus on emptying the bins on time. Drivers will draw one conclusion: this proposal is more about the money it would generate, not the balanced enforcement of criminal law.’

The Government has resisted the idea warning that public support might be limited.

Under the plans, London Councils said it should be given the power to set up new speed cameras and to run its own speed awareness courses.

Claire Holland, chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, set out the proposals in a letter to transport minister Baroness Vere last year.

She said the move would allow the police to ‘concentrate on higher policing priorities at a time where the number of police traffic officers is declining, and resources are limited’.

Under the plans, London Councils said it should be given the power to set up new speed cameras and to run its own speed awareness courses 

The letter said that local authorities would benefit from the retained revenue from fines, which speeding penalties currently passed to the Treasury/

But in a response, Baroness Vere said the Government ‘could not accept a situation where the Police would not have the power to enforce some speed limits’.

She stated concerns that the public would not back the scheme, with civil penalties not subject to the same level of scrutiny as criminal fines.

London Councils believes that its lobbying effort could take several years and has predicted that other councils will come forward to call for similar measures.

Josie Appleton, of the Manifesto Club campaign group, said: ‘Speeding is a serious matter and it should be punished impartially by officers working in the public interest.

‘Councils are not set up to play this role, and there are real concerns that speeding would be treated as a cash cow as is the case with parking fines.’

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