‘Anti-car’ Islington council collects �9million in parking fines

Almost �9million in parking tickets boosted council coffers over the last year, amid criticism that wardens act like a “mercenary police force”.

In the 12 months to June, the council received �8,968,000 in fines, which include offences like banned right turns as well as parking tickets.

Caledonian Road, in Holloway, Essex Road, in Islington, and Old street, in Finsbury, were the hotspots providing the most revenue.

After the cost of enforcing the tickets and fighting appeals, the council turned a profit of �1.25m, which they say is ploughed back into providing Freedom passes for residents.

But wardens have been criticised in the past for being over-zealous. Paul Zumeris, who lives in Aberdeen Park, Highbury, was outraged after he was given a ticket for a brief stop on a loading bay on Newington Green.

He said that he found it “outrageous” that wardens were travelling in cars and “jumping out at opportune moments” to ticket law-abiding citizens.

He continued: “The warden’s car was circling the roundabout and double parked on a hazardous zebra crossing line in the middle of the roundabout, thereby seriously restricting the view of motorists.”

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Roger Lawson, the Islington representative for the Association of British Drivers, said: “Councils are increasing their parking revenue to offset other benefit cuts.

“The problem is they set targets of how much money to collect and the operators make sure they get it – so the incentive is to make money not minimise parking irregularities. Some places use a bit of discretion, but Islington is a very anti-car borough.”

Nearly 70 per cent of processed tickets were contested, and 17 per cent were then cancelled.

The biggest single fine issued was �185.

Cllr Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said: “We’re on the side of residents and want to make parking easier for them, which is why we introduced the resident’s roamer scheme.

“There’s huge demand on Islington’s roads and parking and we have a duty to residents to make sure they’re used properly.

“Any surplus money from parking tickets goes towards the costs of providing Freedom Passes, so older residents can travel around London for free. We’d happily never issue another ticket, if everyone kept to the rules that exist for the benefit of everyone.”