Angry drivers have had to fork out almost £1million worth of fines in only 18 months because of one traffic camera, even though the device and warning signs are reportedly not obvious.
The aim of the traffic camera, which was installed by Islington Council in North London last year, has been to prevent motorists driving on a low traffic neighbourhood (LTNs) street.
The schemes include pop-up cycle lanes, wider pavements and closing streets to cars. The new rules are enforced using warning signs and CCTV cameras.
Furious drivers have lashed out, claiming the device is hardly visible, as one told The Sun: ‘I had no idea it was there because the setting of the planters (plant pots on road) was so wide and the signage so high.’
Angry drivers have had to fork out almost £1million worth of fines in only 18 months because of one traffic camera, even though the device and warning signs are reportedly not obvious
Via a Freedom of Information request, the newspaper revealed the camera has made £900,000 in £130 fines since it was put up in 2021.
Rakhia Ismail, president of Islington Conservatives, said: ‘To make that amount of money from just one camera, especially in the middle of a cost of living crisis, is really shameful.
‘They are picking the pockets of vulnerable residents who are already struggling.
‘They are just interested in the money, not how it affects local people.’
But Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s transport spokesman, said: ‘We’re committed to creating a cleaner, greener, healthier borough, where it is easier for everyone to travel.
The aim of the traffic camera, which was installed by Islington Council, North London last year, has been to prevent motorists driving on a low traffic neighbourhood street
‘We work hard to make sure signage is adequate, unambiguous and compliant with regulations, to provide advance warning for drivers.
‘Through the people-friendly streets programme, the council is making it easier for the 70 per cent of households that do not own a car to walk, cycle, scoot and use buggies and wheelchairs.’
This comes in the wake of the revelation that Lambeth Council in South London issued almost £22million in low traffic neighbourhood fines in a year.
Meanwhile, at the end of May a single set of traffic cameras in the City of London was revealed to have raked in an astonishing £15.2million worth of penalty charges over three years.
Bank Junction, bordered by the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange and Mansion House, has been restricted to buses and cyclists only from 7am to 7pm since 2017 – with £130 fines for wrongdoers, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days.
But thousands of motorists have not cottoned on, with an eye-watering £3.2million haul in 2021 equating to 40 per cent of such fines levied in the Square Mile, Freedom of Information requests by Bloomberg revealed.
Although takings collapsed by almost half from 2019 – when it raised £6.16m, followed by £5.78m in 2020 – it is still one of the most lucrative traffic spots in the capital.
Bank Junction was once heavily used by motorists but now has signs warning drivers to use alternative routes – although many of those who have been fined complain the warnings are still not obvious enough.
LTNs have created deep divides within communities. Some fiercely oppose the schemes while others stand in support
The FOI data also showed other major crossroads in London that restrict some types of vehicles have also become major sources of revenue for local authorities with those in Newham, Hackney, Enfield and Lambeth raising a total of £57million.
Newham alone raised more than £33m in 2020 and 2021 after introducing a swathe of restrictions.
Outside the City, the most lucrative junction in 2021 was Browning Road North in Newham, which pulled in £2.43m; followed by Pritchard’s Road in Hackney – £1.39m; Culmington Road in Ealing – £960,000 and Meadway N14, Enfield – £820,000.
Local authorities argue restrictions cut pollution, and help fund essential services, including road maintenance.
A spokesman for the City of London corporation said any surplus raised by fines was ‘ringfenced by law to highways and transport-related activities such as resurfacing’.
It was reported in May that motorists in the capital were clobbered with a huge 755,098 fines worth nearly £33.6million in total in the year since April last year for breaching new road rules as part of low-traffic neighbourhoods.
There were reports of paramedics having to wait up to 20 minutes to get to a patient who had collapsed in an alleyway because their ambulance was blocked by new bollards installed as part of the council traffic scheme in Ealing, west London
13-year-old Matthieu and his family are some of the people who have been negatively affected by LTNs.
‘[Matthieu] has a rare genetic condition,’ explained his other Elodie. ‘He is profoundly deaf and has ASD [Autism spectrum disorder]. He has severe and complex needs and is very delayed cognitively.’
Despite Matthieu’s difficulties, Elodie and her husband, along with Matthieu’s two older siblings, ensure the boy has as full and rich a life as possible. That includes being picked up by car every morning from home in Islington, North London, to his special-needs school in neighbouring Camden.
The four-mile journey used to take 25 minutes. It now takes up to 50 minutes in slow-moving, sometimes solid traffic.
‘He doesn’t understand sitting in traffic and gets very agitated and becomes aggressive because he’s distressed,’ said Elodie.
A few weeks ago, an 11-mile round trip — from school to a hospital appointment then back home — took three hours.
Elodie shakes her head as she tries to explain the effect it has had on the family.
‘Matthieu is non-verbal. It’s very distressing to see your child upset at the best of times, but when you ask them, they can’t verbalise it. It’s tough.’
Elodie believed the bad traffic is a result of the LTNs in Islington, as the scheme sees cars banned from certain side streets and forced to drive only on main roads.