London motorists face rise in fine charges

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London trafficImage copyright Reuters
Image caption TfL has proposed to raise fines from £130 to £160

Motorists caught breaking road rules in London face a near 25% rise in penalties under Transport for London (TfL) proposals.

Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued to drivers for offences will rise by 23% from £130 to £160 under the measures.

Discounts for early payments would mean fines rising from £65 to £80.

TfL said it would reduce congestion and improve road safety, but the RAC said drivers might question if the fines represented a “proportionate penalty”.

Offences for which motorists can be charged a fine include entering a bus lane, parking in a restricted area or non-payment of the congestion charge.

The new charges could be introduced early next year following a consultation which opens on Monday.

Image caption Discounts for early payments would mean fines rising from £65 to £80

TfL said there had been a 12% rise in the number of motorists issued with fines over the past five years – from 1.3 million to 1.5 million in 2016/17 – suggesting they were not working as a deterrent.

Paul Cowperthwaite, general manager for road user charging, said: “We are committed to keeping the capital moving and by improving compliance we help keep junctions and roads clear, which if blocked cause significant impact to all road users.

He said while the vast majority of motorists “followed the rules” the “Penalty Charge Notice level is not as effective as it once was”.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “Motorists will applaud TfL’s ambition to improve traffic flow on London’s congested roads, but might take some persuading that £160 is a proportionate penalty.

“We need to be reassured that the rising number of cases where drivers are breaking the rules isn’t the fault of the road layout rather than a symptom of indifference to the law or an inadequate level of penalty.”


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