Council fights move to ban spy cameras
Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 22 October 2013
GOVERNMENT proposals to ban static and car-mounted CCTV parking cameras have been fiercely criticised by Oldham councillors.
Plans were announced in September to ban councils from using spy cars to gain extra parking revenue, as well as moves to introduce a new motorists’ right to claim compensation after being incorrectly fined for parking. Only visible traffic wardens will be allowed to film vehicles and issue fines to motorists under the proposals.
Councillor Eddie Moores said: “I think the Government is really out of touch with local people for proposing this ban. Inconsiderate and dangerous parking is something we all have experience of.
“Residents who live close to schools are plagued by drivers who think that they have an automatic right to park as close as possible to the school gates.”
For the past year, Oldham Council and NSL Services have been using a “school safety car” - a car-mounted camera - to catch motorists who potentially put children’s lives in danger at school entrances.
The car visits schools in rotation and records parents dropping off and picking up their children. The footage is analysed and fines issued, if appropriate.
Councillor Moore, who represents Chadderton Central, continued: “The cameras are obvious and people can see them on top of cars. They are not hidden in any way and they are not being used for extra revenue by the council. They are there for safety.”
Communities minister Eric Pickles argued that the public should have a “fair deal” on parking and would restore “common sense” to the system.
He said: “We want to rein in these over-zealous and unfair rules on parking enforcement. Parking spy cameras are just one example of this and a step too far.”
A motion to full council tomorrow night calls on the council to write to Mr Pickles asking the Government to reconsider its proposals.
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