TRAFFIC fines and parking tickets have netted Hammersmith and Fulham Council a staggering £140m in the past five years, new figures have revealed.
The fresh data, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, also shows the total income from moving traffic offences has doubled during the same time period, reaching nearly £14m in 2012/13.
The new figures cast fresh light on the local authority's parking department, just three months after it came under fire for promoting a ‘target-based and revenue-raising culture’ among staff, who were exposed for celebrating a rise in the number of fines in a series of damning emails.
Hammersmith's Labour MP Andy Slaughter said the council was using ‘legal extortion’ to snare drivers at notorious junctions and dismissed its claim that its hardline stance was designed to reduce congestion.
“It is clear that the trickery and deceit used to entrap drivers is designed to raise revenue, not to manage traffic congestion, as was recently exposed,” he said.
“This gives the lie to the Tories’ claims of council efficiency, when all they are doing to balance the books is rip off residents.”
Last year, the authority made £31.7m from Penalty Charge Notices, pay and display parking tickets and parking permits, up from £23.3m in 2008/9. In the past five years the total has been £139.1m.
The number of fines for moving traffic offences in 2012/13 – such as encroaching yellow box junctions or contravening no-right turns – hit nearly 71,000, giving an income of £4.4m, which was slightly down from the previous year.
Unsurprisingly, the much talked about Bagley’s Lane junction was the biggest money-maker, bringing in just over £2m. Next came the Talgarth Road/Butterwick junction (£833,00), followed by the Uxbridge Road/Holland Park roundabout (£517,000).
The council again insisted its ‘effective enforcement of box junctions’ had reduced rush hour traffic delays by 13.5 per cent since 2007 and said surplus revenue from fines goes into funding initiatives like free travel for the elderly and disabled and road maintenance.