AA blasts London council that fines drivers £130 for using public roads for trying to make money


The AA has criticised an affluent London council that is fining drivers for using public roads, accusing it of ‘just trying to raise revenues’.

Hammersmith and Fulham council, nestled in the fashionable west of the capital, is slapping motorists who drive down five residential roads in a neighbourhood adjoining the river Thames with a £130 fine.

The public roads are fiercely guarded by cameras, which photograph number-plates to ensure that only those with a parking permit drive down.

The scheme, thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, has turned the area into a no-go zone for motorcyclists and drivers alike.

No vehicles except permit holders are allowed past the areas marked with a white circle bordered in red. The circles are where the cameras are which enforce the permit-only drivers

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has introduced a new scheme only allowing local residents to drive through certain roads. A sign above warns of the 'new camera enforcement controls'

Hammersmith and Fulham Council has introduced a new scheme only allowing local residents to drive through certain roads. A sign above warns of the ‘new camera enforcement controls’

Long queues across Wandsworth Bridge Road were seen yesterday afternoon as the area grinds to a halt due to the closure of two bridges and the scheme

Long queues across Wandsworth Bridge Road were seen yesterday afternoon as the area grinds to a halt due to the closure of two bridges and the scheme

Slamming the scheme, the AA’s head of roads policy Jack Cousens said it appears ‘the council is just trying to raise revenue and is not really concerned about air quality or managing traffic.

‘We are concerned about the impact this will have on local residents and drivers and it could set a disastrous precedent,’ he said. ‘Other councils will be watching closely to see how much money it raises and could do the same thing.’

He added that the council should make sure it gets residents on-board and talks them through the scheme before making the major changes.

He explained that the scheme was legal as the council had put up signs indicating the restriction zone. It was also legal to have the cameras, he said, although this is unusual.

The scheme has so far caught many tradesmen including electricians and plumbers as they head down the road to respond to emergency calls.

It is also threatening to negatively impact local businesses.

The council says the initiative in the upmarket West London area will stop local roads being used as a rat run, but residents and businesses have branded it a money making scheme

The council says the initiative in the upmarket West London area will stop local roads being used as a rat run, but residents and businesses have branded it a money making scheme

Esak Botross, 67, who lives on one of the affected roads, told MailOnline: 'This scheme has actually made traffic worse. Cars are at a standstill for most of the day because they are all being forced onto main roads and can't use local roads anymore'

Esak Botross, 67, who lives on one of the affected roads, told MailOnline: ‘This scheme has actually made traffic worse. Cars are at a standstill for most of the day because they are all being forced onto main roads and can’t use local roads anymore’

Electricians say they had been caught out by the fines while driving out on a job. Electrician Scott Spelman, 37, admitted that he received a fine after entering one of the roads

Esak Botross, 67, who lives on one of the affected roads, told MailOnline: ‘This scheme has actually made traffic worse. Cars are at a standstill for most of the day because they are all being forced onto main roads and can’t use local roads anymore’

The owner of local business Button and Sprung (pictured) said he was also concerned that his business may be negatively affected

The owner of local business Button and Sprung (pictured) said he was also concerned that his business may be negatively affected

Adam Black, 52, who runs business Button and Sprung on one of the streets that has been closed to drivers said he fears it could negatively impact his business.

‘My strong suspicion is that in trying to solve one problem, (the council) has just created another one,’ he told MailOnline.

‘This all started with some of the residents complaining about people using it as a cut-through and, in trying to solve that problem, they’ve ended up with a much much bigger problem.

‘With two bridges closed it is now impossible. I tried to leave London at 7.30pm on Wednesday night and the whole area was gridlocked. I ended up getting home at 10.30pm and leaving via the M4. 

‘We have off-street parking therefore we don’t need to pay for parking permits. But it will hurt my business if I have to pay for them now for my employees, as it’s how they get to work.

‘I think we’ll find it quite un-amusing if we have to start paying fines for customers too.’

Traffic chaos in South West London in the Wandsworth Bridge Road area on Friday afternoon

Traffic chaos in South West London in the Wandsworth Bridge Road area on Friday afternoon

Cars queue along Wandsworth Bridge Road in South London this week as drivers contend with heavy traffic in parts of the capital

Cars queue along Wandsworth Bridge Road in South London this week as drivers contend with heavy traffic in parts of the capital

Esak Botross, 67, who lives on one of the affected roads, told MailOnline: ‘This scheme has actually made traffic worse.

‘Cars are at a standstill for most of the day because they are all being forced onto main roads and can’t use local roads anymore.

‘My friends and relatives who don’t live in the area are not visiting me now because I don’t know how to get permits for them and they are afraid that they might get fined. The council is being greedy and just wants to make money from this scheme.’

Electrician Scott Spelman, 37, admitted that he received a fine after entering one of the roads in the scheme while driving to a job.

He fumed: ‘It’s hard enough driving around London as it is and now people are being forced to pay for going down the wrong road without realising it. I don’t live in the area and the first I knew about it was when I received a fine in the post.’

The council said online that it had consulted local residents before making the changes.

Explaining the scheme, a spokesman said: ‘Our sole aim is to reduce rat running through our streets, not make money.

‘The scheme follows consultation with hundreds of residents, including a cross-party working group including local residents.

‘Traffic is down in the scheme area and fines at a local box junction have dropped by over half. The congestion on Wandsworth Bridge Road is due to the work on Wandsworth Bridge, which is cutting road capacity by half.’

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