Councils granted the power to fine drivers for stopping in yellow box junctions have raked in almost £60 million in fines in a single year.
The enforcement of “moving traffic offences”, which include blocking yellow boxes, ignoring no entry signs and making illegal turns brought in 25 per cent more in 2018/19 than the two years previously, according to figures obtained by the RAC.
Currently only London boroughs, Transport for London and Cardiff Council have the powers to enforce moving traffic offences, with police still responsible elsewhere. However, the Department for Transport intends to hand the same power to all local authorities in England and Wales, opening the door to a sharp rise in drivers being caught and fined.
In Cardiff, penalty charge notices (PCN) are set at £70 while in London they are £130.
Between them in 2018/19 the London boroughs, TfL and Cardiff charged drivers £58.2m for nearly 10m offences, with the majority of this coming from those caught obstructing a yellow box junction.
In total, £31.4m was raised from yellow box offences, compared with £22.3m for “no turn” offences and £4.4m for “no entry” contraventions. Transport for London topped the table with a revenue of nearly £10m, but in terms of single councils Hammersmith and Fulham was the runaway leader, raising £3.5m from 16 yellow box junctions in its area – £1.1m ahead of the next nearest council. One junction in Westminster proved to be the most profitable single spot, bringing in £333,295.
In contrast, most of Cardiff’s revenue came from “no turn” offences, which yielded £1.4m, compared with £826,424 for yellow box junctions and £182,782 for “no entry” offences. While London saw far more fines, the increase in the number of penalty charge notices issued in Cardiff rose more sharply, from 19,080 in 2016/17 to 74,142 in 2018/19.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the extension of powers to other local authorities must not be seen as an easy way to generate revenue.
He commented: “It’s plain for all to see that London boroughs, TfL and Cardiff are generating phenomenal sums of money from the enforcement of moving traffic offences.
“The vast majority of drivers we’ve surveyed agree that those who stop on yellow boxes, make illegal turns or go through ‘no entry’ signs need to be penalised, but when it comes to extending powers to other councils many are concerned, with 68 per cent thinking local authorities will rush to install cameras to generate additional revenue.
“We believe guidance should be issued setting out where enforcement should be targeted and the types of signs that must be used to make drivers aware that enforcement cameras are operating, and for what type of moving traffic offence.
“We welcome proposals that first offenders are sent a warning letter before subsequent penalties apply. This is particularly important where changes are made to urban road layouts. What we do not want is this being seen by cash-strapped local authorities as a way to generate revenue.”