Council earns thousands from traffic cameras

A camera surverying a road

Council coffers are reaping substantial rewards from cameras focused on one of Dalston’s roads, it has been revealed.

Traffic cameras on Boleyn Road have raised more than £200,000 since the start of 2013, having caught out more than 2,000 motorists for breaking no right turn road rules, Freedom of Information requests have exposed.

A council camera surveying a road. Img by takomabibelot, some rights reserved
A camera surveying a road. Img by takomabibelot, some rights reserved

However since an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera was installed in May a pattern has emerged. The rate at which motorists have been caught has escalated, with data for the last four months showing that 1,383 fines were issued, raising £65,469.

ANPR cameras are often used to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality including tackling travelling criminals and terrorists but Hackney Council is using them to monitor motoring infringements, with the revenue generation aspect proving controversial.

Dalston residents’ groups have reacted to the revelations with outrage. A resident said: “It is a disgrace that the police are taking advantage of motorists in this way, instead of trying to prevent infractions it seems they are more concerned with making money at tough times for people.”

Privacy campaigners and motoring groups have also raised concerns that the cameras store number plates on a central database, creating the potential for access at any time.

It is not the only camera in Hackney that has shown this trend. In the last two months an ANPR camera stationed on Lea Bridge Road has led to more than 150 fines for driving in a bus lane alone.

An AA spokesperson said: “If motoring infringements are increasing in a spot where there are ANPR cameras it suggests that they are not working as intended. The purpose of these cameras is to reduce offences, not raise revenue.”