Ker-ching! Council makes £2.4 million in 18 months from the Bagley’s Lane box junction

bagleysThe 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.”

 

5 thoughts on “Ker-ching! Council makes £2.4 million in 18 months from the Bagley’s Lane box junction

  1. Let’s do some sums… £2.4M in Fixed Penalty Charges, assume £60 per charge, that is 40,000 drivers fined in 18 months.

    Looking at the DfT traffic measurement points, they have a measuring point on the Old Kings Rd 400m north of the Bagley’s Lane junction and in 2015 it had an average of 26,746 motor vehicles per day. There is another measuring point on the Old Kings Rd 500m south of the Bagley’s Lane junction and in 2015 it had an average of 13,788 motor vehicles per day.

    Let’s assume the average daily traffic through the Bagley’s Lane junction is the average of these two points, so 20,267 motor vehicles per day.

    Over 18 months, that is a total of just over 11 million vehicles.

    Assuming 40,000 drivers were fined, this means 0.36% of drivers using the junction were fined and 99.64% of drivers weren’t fined.

    So if over 99% of drivers managed to use the junction without breaking the law, why should the 0.36% who didn’t do this get any special treatment?

    • It’s an awkward box junction. Many drivers will get through it unscathed when the lights turn green and there’s nothing blocking an exit, but the fact that a large number get caught made our Council Leader trot out his pledge.

      The emphasis should be on preventing breaches in the law not deriving fine revenue. I’ve seen no evidence of the junction being made more driver friendly.

      If you look at the Hammersmith Broadway, at times it is legally difficult to turn south onto Fulham Palace Rd because a combination of congestion at the top of the latter plus sudden vehicle movements can make you commit an infringement by becoming trapped in the box. You are dependent on the goodwill of the CCTV operator to not get a penalty!

      Transport for London have admitted that the expansion of box junctions has not worked as billed, causing traffic to bunch up and reducing road speed further. You can probably add some impact on air quality and driver blood pressure.

  2. The point isn’t really the fines, it is Cllr Cowan’s hypocracy in simply ignoring his manifesto promise to reduce the fines. Like Sadiq “no-one will pay higher fares” Khan it seems he said anything he needed to get elected with no intention of keeping any of his promises. By the way Cowan also said in his manifesto he would “deliver the flyunder” – so with a Labour Mayor in place where is it ?

  3. The hypocrisy of the current administration is staggering. Though I guess they are so kind and good that it doesn’t matter too much.

    Box junctions in London can be tough to negotiate, even stressful. It is easy to make misjudgements which don’t really impede traffic flow but still result in a fine.

    Something needs to change. Either a lower fine (£30), or a warning letter, or fairer judgements by the operatives in the panopticon when tickets are issued.

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