Bedford Borough Conservative Councillor Roger Rigby has welcomed comments from the Local Government Minister Eric Pickles who has questioned the motives of councils using mobile camera vehicles to enforce parking restrictions, including Bedford Borough Council.
Mr Pickles said that he will consider banning the vehicles next year as they are used for ‘raking in pretty large sums of money to fill the councils’ coffers’. Cllr Rigby thinks this is true of the two Bedford Borough Council vehicles which can be in operation seven days a week between the hours of 7am – 10pm.
Cllr Rigby, who is the Conservative representative for Bromham & Biddenham said
‘We were told by the Mayor’s Liberal Democrat administration that camera vans would be used to alleviate safety concerns, particularly outside schools. However, the number of fines issued for parking on school ‘keep clear’ markings between the 1st April 2012 and the 1st March 2013 was 228 out of a total of 4127 fines. Over half the fines were for parking on loading bans, which suggests the priority is income over safety.
‘In 2012/13 the camera vans cost £153k to operate and they brought in £138k; a loss of £15k. The need for the Council to recoup its losses means they are on the prowl for fines 7 days a week between the hours of 7am – 10pm. The vans are cash hungry and they are going after motorists even when it is not busy in Bedford town centre.
‘Can Bedford and our motorists stand the Liberal Democrat Mayor making them cash cows whilst managing to lose money in the process?’