New Powers to Fine Motorists Slowly Implemented in Kent, ANPR Cameras Planned in Multiple Towns

New Powers to Fine Motorists Slowly Implemented in Kent, ANPR Cameras Planned in Multiple Towns

New Powers to Fine Motorists Used Sparingly Across Kent, But Cameras Planned in Several Towns

Local authorities in Kent have been given new powers to fine motorists for moving traffic offences, but so far they have been used sparingly. However, this may soon change as new ANPR cameras are planned to be installed in several towns.

Since June 2022, councils across the UK have been able to apply for permission to penalise drivers who commit moving traffic offences. These include ignoring no-entry signs, stopping in yellow box junctions, and driving in bus or taxi lanes.

While the police have traditionally enforced these offences outside of London, local councils are now eager to take on this responsibility in order to actively police problem areas. However, it appears that the majority of councils in Kent have not yet adopted these new powers or issued any fines.

Medway is currently the only authority in Kent to have used the new powers, catching 2,395 offenders within less than a month. A freedom of information request revealed that none of the county’s 12 district and borough councils have taken up the powers, instead leaving it to Kent County Council (KCC) to act.

KCC has identified several locations where it plans to introduce ANPR cameras to catch offenders, but the implementation of these new rules has not been without controversy. In Maidstone, where cameras will be installed to catch motorists entering the High Street which is restricted to buses and taxis, the council has yet to determine how to avoid issuing tickets to innocent blue badge holders who are allowed to enter for disabled parking.

A spokesperson for KCC stated that they are currently mobilizing to install the first few cameras this spring, but have not yet issued any penalty charge notices.

The other sites that KCC has in mind for ANPR cameras include bus gates in Whitfield in Dover, Joyce Green Lane to Crossways Boulevard in Dartford, and Chapelfield Way in Maidstone. However, the council insists that these powers will only be used sparingly to improve road safety, make public transport more attractive, and reduce congestion.

In Gravesend, the decision to install bus gate cameras in Clive Road has been met with resistance from taxi drivers who have called for a U-turn on the decision. However, KCC has stated that they will not be allowing taxis to use the fastrack system.

In contrast, Medway has been quicker off the mark in enforcing the new powers. Their first camera was installed in December 2023 and they now have cameras covering 12 different locations. In February 2024, these cameras caught 2,395 drivers for various offences, with the most offenders being caught at Orchard Street in Rainham.

While offenders initially receive a warning notice for their first offence, they will be fined £70 if they repeat the offence within six months.

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