Motorists face new fines for traffic offences under plans to transfer powers from police to local authorities, according to the Telegraph.
The Telegraph report says that local authorities have lobbied the Government for the right to fine drivers who make illegal turns, encroach on yellow boxes or drive in bus and cycle lanes.
The report goes on to say that ministers have indicated they are ‘sympathetic’ to the plans, while motoring groups have expressed concerns that councils will see them as a ‘cash cow’.
The Telegraph says that the DfT has been in discussions with 20 councils about giving them the new powers, including Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Reading, Salford, Sheffield and Southampton.
The Telegraph says that in London in 2011, local authorities used their extended powers to fine 800,000 motorists a total of ‘at least £50 million’, in addition to at least £250 million in parking fines.
Paul Watters, speaking for the AA, said: “This will alienate drivers who make a simple mistake.
“I think the risk is the [CCTV] cameras will click away automatically where there is a traffic management problem, such as a badly designed junction. It means there will be no incentive to improve junctions, given the amount of money councils can make from these fines.”
Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “Very little is currently done to stop the minority of inconsiderate drivers who block cycle lanes and bus lanes, pull up in cycle boxes at traffic lights and clog box junctions causing long tailbacks in rush hour.
“Not only do these needless infringements cause frustration to responsible motorists, they can also put cyclists at risk by forcing them into busy traffic.
“Granting councils the power to tackle impatient drivers who break the law and put others at risk in an effort to shave seconds off their journey would unquestionably help ease congestion, reduce pollution and make roads safer for everyone.”
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We don’t have a problem with the enforcement of moving traffic offences, but much will depend on the quality and level of enforcement.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.