Drivers are set to face fines for blocking yellow box junctions in Reading next year.
Automatic number plate recognition (APNR) cameras will monitor 15 junctions in the town and fines will be issued to drivers who block them illegally. When fully operational the scheme is expected to earn the council £250,000 a year through the fines.
Local authorities in London have had the power to implement fines for a number of motoring offences for some years but now the Government is allowing other councils to apply to do the same and Reading, after a public consultation in April in May, will go ahead with the roll out of its first 15 sites which will start this year and be fully operational by April 1 next year.
In line with Government guidance, drivers who are caught during the first six months will get a warning letter for the first offence instead of a fine.
Reading Borough Council says 52 per cent of respondents to the consultation supported its overall enforcement of moving traffic contraventions.
Its strategic environment, planning and transport committee is expected to rubber stamp the scheme at its Wednesday, November 16 meeting.
Cllr Tony Page, lead member for climate strategy and transport, said: “The illegal blocking of yellow box junctions in Reading often has major knock-on effects, adding to queues, delaying buses and disrupting their timetables, and for local residents, in respect of contributing to poor air quality caused by increased emissions. It can also put other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians in danger.
“For many years now councils outside of London have been prevented from using these powers. That meant only the Thames Valley Police could take action but, understandably due to budget cuts, their priorities lay elsewhere.
“I am pleased that after much lobbying the Department for Transport has finally listened to reason and will allow councils like Reading to take over these important enforcement powers.
“The proposed phased approach in Reading is deliberate, with enforcement starting to go live early next year. Importantly warnings, rather than fines, will be issued during the first six months. This is to give drivers as much notice as possible before official penalty charge notices are issued.
“It is also important to emphasise that, as with all traffic and parking enforcement fines, the law requires that any revenue raised has to be re-invested in transport or highways improvements across Reading.”
Drivers are allowed to stop in a yellow box junction to turn right while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear or behind other right-turning vehicles, but otherwise should not enter the junctions unless clear.
If the Reading scheme is deemed a success, it will spread out to other offences including:
- Driving through a ‘No Entry’ sign
- Turning left or right when instructed not to do so (making banned turns)
- Driving where or when motor vehicles are prohibited.
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