Spy cameras hidden at box junctions and in bus lanes are issuing fines to motorists which add up to £135 million a year.
CCTV cameras installed in cities can spot cars who commit minor offences such as straying into bus lanes or blocking box junctions, and can issue fines from this evidence.
Motoring groups believe that these fines are being exploited to raise money to fund cash-strapped councils, with some fines costing as much as £130 and only a small percentage cancelled on appeal. In 2012/13, of the 8,830 appeals that were made, only 3,305 of them were successfully overturned.
London issued the most fines, with 850,000 penalties issued in 2012/13. Of that number Transport for London issued the bulk of the fines, with just under 160,000 issued last year. The majority of the penalties were issued for moving traffic offences such as waiting in a box junction. The second biggest penalty was for those caught missing bus lanes.
Outside of London, Reading Council was the biggest ticket issuer, fining 101,000 road users, which amounts to around £3 million in charges.
However, some councils have opted against using CCTV tactics to get income. Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson scrapped the city’s bus lanes and cameras in October 2013 as a trial for nine months to ease the flow of traffic. The cameras generated an income of £700,000 but Anderson insisted that the city should get rid of the cameras, saying that motorists shouldn’t be treated as “cash cows.”