Money raised from LTN fines issued by Haringey Council will be used to fund local transport investment, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
Drivers have been hit by fines totalling nearly £2million in just four months following the rollout of low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) schemes in Haringey.
The council dished out more than 60,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) to motorists caught by LTN enforcement cameras between September and the end of December last year, with a total value of more than £1.99m.
Three LTNs were introduced by the council last year on a trial basis in a bid to cut car use, reduce air pollution and boost walking and cycling. Schemes in Bounds Green and St Ann’s were launched in August, followed by the Bruce Grove and West Green LTN in November. The LTNs use a combination of enforcement cameras and physical barriers to stop through-traffic from using residential streets.
The schemes have sparked a series of protests from residents, claiming the LTNs are increasing congestion and pollution, particularly on boundary roads. In December, Tottenham MP David Lammy called for changes to be made after revealing constituents had contacted him about delays to journeys and concerns over the impact on local businesses.
The LTN revenue figures were revealed by the council in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the chair of Tottenham Young Conservatives, Angelos Tsangarides.
Angelos said: “The monumental penalty charge revenue figure of £1,994,525 (generated by 60,207 penalty charge notices) revealed by my recent FOI request illustrates the true extent to which Haringey Labour’s LTN cash grab is working – especially once you consider that the figure only covers the period from September 2022 to the end of December 2022.”
Several Labour councillors have also privately raised concerns over the motivation behind the schemes after learning LTN and ‘school streets’ penalties were expected to raise £5.7m during the next financial year. Their worries came to light in November in a series of leaked emails. By law, surplus PCN revenue must be reinvested by councils in transport schemes such as highways maintenance work and funding for concessionary travel.
Mike Hakata, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action, environment and transport, said: “Like our surrounding boroughs, we introduced low-traffic neighbourhoods because we want to reduce the overall volume of traffic in and around the area so that the whole community can benefit from cleaner air and safer streets.
“Our data shows that more than two-thirds of these fines were issued to vehicles registered outside the borough, which demonstrates we are an importer of traffic. But we don’t want to fine anyone, from inside or outside the borough, and our expectation and hope is that compliance will be high.
“For the first few weeks after the low-traffic schemes were introduced, warning letters were issued advising drivers not to go through camera-enforced filters or they would receive a fine. We also implemented exemptions for Blue Badge holders from day one of the scheme.
“We know that this is a major change to how people get around. All our LTNs have been introduced on an experimental basis. We engaged extensively with the local community before introducing the LTNs and we continue to seek their views on how their local environment can be improved. We are constantly monitoring what is happening on the ground and won’t hesitate to make changes. We want to get this right for everyone.”