Bus lane CCTV monitoring doubles in two years

Lucrative: bus lanes

Lucrative: bus lanes

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter - 020 8722 6313

The amount of time Kingston Council spends monitoring bus lane CCTV has more than doubled in two years.

The equivalent of 11 hours of CCTV a day was recorded in 2013/14, with an average of 62 people a day fined - netting twice as much money in fines as the year before.

There were nearly 60 hours a day of moving traffic contraventions surveillance, which includes drivers stopping in box junctions.

Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: "The rise in fines collected by Kingston Council clearly highlights that the use of CCTV for traffic enforcement is not tackling the root causes of the problem.

"Academic research repeatedly highlights how poor a crime-fighting tool CCTV cameras are, yet councils insist on pouring more money into schemes in return for cheap headlines.

"The use of CCTV cars is yet another example of how councils are constantly using surveillance as a lazy, quick fix to complex problems."

Increases in surveillance have not always equalled huge rise in fines. An extra 900 hours in 2012/13 coincided with a small drop in the number of fines.

Council officers suggest the authority has not monitored extra bus lanes this year.

Councillor David Cunningham, lead member for transport, said he could not give a "definitive answer" to the question.

He added: "We will review the situation. It will take a little while for us to do it bit I think it's important. It's an issue that we certainly got on the doorstep.

"People get used to the fact that they're being monitored. That's what we're being told happens in other boroughs. You get a peak but it steps down."

The council's bus lane monitoring increased from 2,855 hours in 2012/13 to 4,133 last year, and its end-of-year bus lane surplus rose nearly 80 per cent, from £758,000 in 2012/13 to £1,359,000. Its bus lane surplus account now holds more than £2.5m.

In 2011/12 it monitored 1,924 hours of bus lane CCTV.

The council spent £441,000 in bus lane cash on its concessionary fare scheme for pensioners, alongside £2.8m from its parking surplus account. £300,732 from the parking account went towards maintaining car parks, but just £36,000 was spent on highways improvement.

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