Over 11,000 fines were reportedly issued to motorists in just over a month, so much so that the council have had to revoke the fixed penalty notices.
Last year, a new bus gate was introduced to stop cars from turning off Vicar Lane and onto Lady Lane between the hours of 5am and 10pm to improve public transport access in the city centre.
A traffic enforcement camera was installed in October 2021 but didn’t start issuing fines, just warning notices, until November.
Between 1 November and 9 December 2021, the council have conformed that 11,159 notices were issued. Out of this unprecedented number of fines, a whopping. 1,261 were appealed, just under 10% of the total number issued and £142,410 had been paid in fines by drivers.
As a result, the council have reconsidered the fixed penalty notices’ and refund the costs of all penalty notices that have been paid to date, as well as allowing all appeals to be submitted and dismissing any further outstanding notices.
The issue was brought to the council’s attention by Coun Conrad Hart-Brooke, who submitted a question to the council’s ruling Executive Board, asking: “How many bus lane camera tickets have been issued by the camera on Vicar Lane/Lady Lane since it went live last year?”
He went on to ask about further fines and policies and was given a written response stating the refunds of current and past fines, equating to a staggering £142,410.
The senior councillor that responded to Mr Hart-Brooke stated that the camera was placed to help aid the long-term strategy of improving the roads in the city centre for public transport. At present this only affects the traffic on Vicar Lane and Lady Lane, but it is proposed that the council should convert the stretch of Vicar Lane north of the Headrow into a two-way street to close traffic to New Briggate altogether.
This doesn’t mean that the penalty notices will disappear altogether. The council acknowledge the current road marketing are not sufficient, although meeting minimum legal requirements, and new measures are going to be drawn up, with a view of implementing these changes as soon as possible.
It is thought the additional measures will include additional signing and carriageway markings.
Feature Image- Leeds City Council