Cash-strapped Hackney Council has raked in £2.7m by fining drivers £130-a-pop for breaching controversial low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) rules.
Parking officials have slapped drivers with 69,956 penalty charge notices (PCNs) since the scheme was introduced in June 2020.
Hackney issued a staggering 44,525 PCNs for LTN breaches in 2020 alone – behind only Lewisham Council, who gave 61,351 from July to December.
An internal council analysis revealed that 82 per cent of drivers fined didn’t even live in the borough – sparking accusations that drivers are treating Hackney as a “rat run”.
An advanced network of council-run CCTV cameras monitors traffic in and out of the neighbourhoods.
Drivers caught breaching the LTN are immediately sent a £130 fine in the post – but the sum will be reduced by half if paid within 14 days.
The £2,748,283 raised through fines will be poured back into the borough’s transport budget.
In February, the council was ordered to find £24m of savings by 2023/24 to fill a budget black hole left by Covid-19 and reduced contributions from the government.
And Mayor Philip Glanville warned that October’s cyber attack is likely to cost the borough an additional £10m.
Last Saturday a crowd marched to Hackney Town Hall to protest against LTNs. Campaigners argued that it shifts traffic onto main roads and does nothing to tackle pollution.
An analysis of the London Fields LTN revealed that traffic dropped by an average of 44 per cent – with some roads seeing reductions of up to 94 per cent.
Hackney’s transport chief Cllr Mete Coban said: “LTNs play a key role in our aims to rebuild a greener Hackney that protects all of our communities from rises in traffic, supports people to make healthier local journeys, prioritises public transport for those who need it, and creates cleaner, greener streets for everyone to enjoy.
“LTNs are important because they discourage through-traffic from using neighbourhood streets – where there are fewer pedestrian crossings and roads are less able to handle high volumes of traffic – and encourage people to switch local car journeys for walking and cycling.
“We know not everyone can make this switch, which is why all addresses in LTNs can still be accessed by car.
“We don’t want to issue anyone a PCN, but unfortunately, a small minority of drivers are continuing to try to use Hackney’s residential streets as rat-runs.
“This is particularly a problem with vehicles originating from outside the borough – our analysis has found that eight in 10 of the PCNs issued in LTNs have been to vehicles that aren’t registered in Hackney.
“The number of PCNs demonstrates the scale of the challenge we have in getting through-traffic off our residential roads, and why enforcement using CCTV is necessary.
“PCN fines are reinvested back into funding concessionary travel, highway maintenance work, schools transport, and into parking provision, as well as into making Hackney a safer and greener borough through projects for vehicular, cyclist and pedestrian improvements.”