Monday, May 02, 2011

Not so Smartcars? "Simples ...get approval"

Quick to catch the unsuspecting motorist but now with a dilemma and another frank admission these 'Not So SmartCars' are set to cause a financial headache for Richmond Council. We reported earlier that Nigel Wise's case could be the tip of a very large iceberg.

Richmond Council earlier dismissed the loss of the PCN appeal at PATAS as a 'technicality.' However, it is a fundamental legal requirement that these CCTV Smartcar devices are 'approved' by the Secretary of State. If they are not then the council cannot issue PCNs ... "Simples."

If the council has issued the PCNs without legal authority to do so then they must refund the money. Let's hope that Richmond Council do the decent thing and lead by example.

Parking ticket camera cars taken off road
Evening Standard
Mark Blunden
27 Apr 2011

Drivers in one London borough were feeling a little less persecuted today after council chiefs took CCTV cars off the road following a blunder.

Richmond upon Thames town hall bosses said Smart Cars that issue parking tickets could be out of use for up to a week, potentially losing thousands of pounds in revenue.

The U-turn comes after a landmark ruling in which motorist Nigel Wise had a £100 fine thrown out by a parking appeal tribunal after he proved Richmond was using the wrong kind of cameras on its cars.

The carer, 59, claims councils across the capital, which issue up to £10 million in tickets through Smart Cars every year, are making similar errors.

Last week Richmond said that all its "CCTV camera cars are correctly licensed and were at the time of this (Mr Wise's) incident". But today, the authority admitted this was not the case and campaigners are demanding the authority refunds thousands of parking tickets issued by its two vehicles. A council spokesman said: "In light of Thursday's decision, we are looking at all documentation relating to camera cars.

"Until the checks are complete, both cars have been taken off the road."

Richmond earned more than £573,000 last year from 12,305 tickets issued through CCTV cars. Its parking services are contracted out to Vinci Park, but the final sign-off for camera licences rests with town hall officials.

It had originally blamed the Vehicle Certification Agency, which issues licences, for typographical errors on the certificates. The traffic wardens who normally sit in the cars will instead patrol the borough on foot.

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