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Waltham Forest Council CCTV cameras generate £7.5m
The use of CCTV to enforce traffic regulations earned Waltham Forest Council £7.5million in five years, according to a report.
Research by campaign group Big Brother Watch found the authority earned the 14th highest amount in England and Wales using spy cars and static cameras over five years.
Anti-CCTV camapaign group Big Brother Watch (BBW) found Waltham Forest Council earned £1,786,000 more than neighbouring Redbridge and £543,000 more than Hackney between 2008 and 2013.
Councils are not allowed to use money collected from fixed penalty notices as profit and must reinvest it in improvements to roads.
In September 2013, the government announced a series of proposals to reform the use of “over -zealous” CCTV enforcement.
At the time Ongar MP and secretary of statefor communities and local government, Eric Pickles said: "Excessive parking charges and unfair parking fines push up the cost of living, and undermine local high streets and shopping parades.
"We want to rein over-zealous parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money. Parking spy cars are just one example of this and a step too far.
"Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council coffers.”
Big Brother Watch has said the number of councils using CCTV spy cars nationally to catch traffic offenders has increased by 87 per cent since 2009 from 39 to 59.
Waltham Forest Council did not reveal provide evidence detailing the number of fines issued by CCTV spy cars or how many there are in the borough.
However, it did say static cameras captured 287,000 parking and traffic contraventions.
Director Nick Pickles of BBW has criticised the council's slack response and suggested revenue figures could be higher.
"Councils shouldn’t be using CCTV to raise revenue and the government is right to ask for councils to justify why they are using CCTV to issue so many tickets.
"The fact Waltham Forest council can’t even give meaningful statistics about the revenue being raised through CCTV parking enforcement should ring alarm bells.
"Such a striking lack of transparency begs the question if they are trying to hide the facts from the public.
"The sooner there is a ban in place the better. Surveillance should be a last resort, not the default choice, and ultimately councils should be focusing on tackling the root cause of problems rather than looking for a quick buck," said Mr Pickles.
Last month, the council announced it had written off over £250,000 in CCTV fines and issued dozens of refunds after it failed to assign the correct signage around a now-removed bus-lane camera at the Green Man roundabout in Leytonstone.
The council has been contacted for a comment.
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