The BBC reports that Hammersmith and Fulham Council has made £2.4 million in Fixed Penalty Charges from the Bagley’s Lane/New King’s Road box junction in the last eighteen months.
Now it is important that drivers do not feel they can get away with blocking box junctions. So a failure to have any enforcement would not be in the interests of motorists generally as it would lead to more congestion.
The conflict of interest comes in the traffic management and the level of fines meaning that the more people the Council catch and the more they fine them the greater the revenue for the Council. That means it has become a tax. Apart from anything else this is unconstitutional. The principle that taxes must be approved by Parliament goes back to the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.
When Cllr Stephen Cowan, the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, was opposition leader he said that the money raised from the Bagley’s Lane was part of a “sly, cunning and often deceitful culture”. He now seems to see some merit in the “money box” junction. Labour’s manifesto pledge to cut fines which they said were used “for entrapping innocent motorists” has been quietly dropped.
What I propose is that for a first offence a warning letter is sent first. It could be to the owner of the vehicle, where
we have no previous record of an offence by anyone driving that vehicle. The Council said the DVLA wouldn’t allow it. So I asked the DVLA – who told me they would:
“We would provide vehicle keeper details to the local authority if they intended to send a warning letter.
“Vehicle keeper data is provided to local authorities by law for purposes involving traffic management. Regulations do not prescribe the method by which such traffic management operations must be carried out. So long as those activities are lawful, it is for the local authority to consider how best to achieve this.”