RULING Labour councillors in Sheffield have been branded ‘anti-car’ - over plans to bring in mobile parking and bus lane enforcement cameras which could raise £264,000 a year in fines.
The proposals, recommended for approval at a meeting of Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee on Thursday, aim to reduce congestion caused by illegally-parked vehicles and ensure bus lanes are clear.
But Coun Ian Auckland, Lib Dem shadow cabinet member for transport and the environment, said: “Labour’s move to start using a camera vehicle to dole out fines is motivated by making money rather than keeping Sheffield’s traffic flowing.
“The hefty profit target gives the game away.
“Whilst we don’t oppose penalising those who flout the rules, we believe action should be based on addressing traffic issues rather than on purely making as much profit from motorists as possible.
“Clearly the anti-car attitude Labour councillors displayed last time they controlled the council is still alive and well.”
But Sheffield Council cabinet member for transport and environment, Coun Leigh Bramall, insisted: “The vast majority of motorists obey bus lane restrictions so it is not fair when a small minority of motorists abuse them.
“The new mobile cameras will help us to prevent such abuse and make enforcement of bus lanes more effective.
“There are plenty of signs to warn people about the lanes, so there really is no reason for people to drive in them.
“These cameras merely seek to uphold these restrictions. Of course, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to fine anyone - but if motorists flout restrictions they will receive a ticket.”
He added camera enforcement does not make any profit, with money paying for enforcement and expansion of cameras to new locations.
The council said later this month it plans to turn off unpopular bus priority traffic lights on the A61 on the approach to Woodseats.
Coun Auckland, whose Graves Park ward includes the area, said: “It is at least some comfort for local people that the lights will be finally switched off and bagged up.
“The lights should be removed altogether as soon as possible.”