London

Enfield Council targets illegal school-run parking with CCTV

CCTV
Image caption The cameras take images of cars parked illegally for more than three seconds

A north London council has confirmed it is using CCTV cameras to target parents who park illegally on the school run.

Enfield Council has set up cameras outside schools that record number plates of cars parked illegally for more than three seconds.

The system's manufacturers say other boroughs are also trialling the system, but did not confirm which ones.

Local authorities say the cameras will improve safety but opponents say it is just a way of raising money.

The data is recorded and reported back to councils and either a warning letter can be issued or a penalty fine.

'No cash cow'

Paul Pearson, of parking campaign group Penalty Charge Notice, said there was not enough places for parents to park.

Alex Henney, the general secretary of the National Motorists' Action Group, said a civil enforcement officer should be used instead of the cameras.

"It seems to me that probably there's an agenda to generate money - that is illegal," he said.

"In my view, the sensible approach is to get the council and school head together to discuss it with the parents to sort out some arrangement."

Image caption Parking campaigners have called for more civil enforcement officers to be used

However, Amanda Philips, the head teacher at Old Ford Primary School in Tower Hamlets, east London, said the school had tried to address parking issues by communicating with families, the local council and the police but there is a problem.

"It is as always a very small number of families with particular cars that we can identify that we constantly have conversations with," she said.

Dave Richmond, the joint director of camera manufacturers Videalert, said he did not believe it would be a "cash cow" as once several tickets were issued, drivers would stop parking illegally.

'Rocky Horror Show'

He said the problem with using civil enforcement officers is that drivers comply with the rules when an officer is present, but revert back to their normal behaviour when they have gone.

"If you watch the videos that I have seen, some of the behaviour of drivers outside schools is like the Rocky Horror Show," Mr Richmond said.

"It is really bad and therefore this is a safety issue and it needs to be dealt with."

In a statement, Enfield Council said it was "committed to improving road safety for all pedestrians, especially children walking to and from school, and reducing road safety related casualties.

"This is a pilot project and we will evaluate its success before making any decisions on future use," it said.

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