August 2 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Hundreds of motorists are owed money back after being fined for parking where Newham Council used CCTV cameras that were not legally cleared for parking enforcement.
The authority is having to refund £350,000 for penalty notices sent out since 2009—only half have been repaid so far, it has emerged.
The refunds follow a two-year campaign by the National Motorist Action Group which called in the Independent Auditor after claiming to have got no reply from the Mayor.
The illegal fines came to light last June when 12 cameras were found to have been uncertified for use in penalty notices.
But the action group claims the council refused to make refunds.
“The council stopped enforcement and cancelled unpaid parking notices, acknowledging that none had been lawfully issued,” said the group’s director Peter Ashford.
“But it also said it wouldn’t refund any of the penalty charges which had already been paid.
“The money was unlawfully retained from penalty charges in the first place.”
Several tickets were issued to Manor Park’s B&P Carpets warehouse when loading up on their forecourt in Romford Road—one lorry was even towed away loaded with £2,000 of customers’ carpets.
Company director Muma Kaba told the Recorder: “We lost £2,000 in trade and had to pay £240 to get the vehicle back.
“We can’t carry carpets across the busy Romford Road to the parking bay.
“It’s impossible doing business here—we’re really struggling and at one point felt like closing down.
“The council does nothing to help trade grow, but everything to milk businesses.
“Over zealous traffic warden issue tickets willy nilly. It’s criminal.”
Only cameras specifically authorised by the Vehicle Certification Agency can be used to issue penalty fines.
The council insists it corrected the problem when it came to light.
A Town Hall spokesman said: “A small number of cameras were not properly certified. We took the decision at the time to cancel all unpaid parking tickets relating to these cameras, amounted to £216,133.
“The council has now decided to refund other penalty charge notices issued from these cameras and has written to 4,952 people who are eligible for a refund.”
These include 1,203 Newham households. The penalty charge notices from these cameras were 2.5 per cent of the total issued by CCTV in Newham.