York Council Admits Lendal Bridge & Coppergate Fines Will Expire After 28 Days
11:22am 7th April 2014
(Updated 5:25pm 7th April 2014)
York Council has admitted Lendal Bridge and Coppergate fines will expire before the legal row over the fining system is resolved.
In an e-mail to opposition Lib Dem leader Keith Aspden, transport director Darren Richardson said the legal process could take three months to appeal a government-appointed traffic judge's ruling last week that the system was unlawful.
The e-mail questions are printed below:
Keith Aspden: Is the appeal process (against the Traffic Adjudicator’s ruling) underway and how long is this process likely to take?
Darren Richardson: We have now received the external legal advice and reviewed it internally, we are sufficiently confident that we can now follow the next stage of the appeals process. We will be lodging our intent this week with the Chief Adjudicator and then await their response. We are aware that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal has a heavy caseload and therefore realistically would not expect to get a formal answer for upto 3 months, we will however be highlighting the sensitivity of this case in the national context and hope that it could be prioritised accordingly.
Keith Aspden: As I understand it PCNs must be issued within 28 days of the offence. So are you expecting the appeal process to be resolved within 28 days?
Darren Richardson: This is partly correct in that the PCN’s do have to be issued within 28 days, however any appeals process that follows should the PCN be contested can take several months to resolve, ultimately it may end up as a judicial review in the high court and therefore can take longer than that. In terms of this particular adjudicators decision, given the need for separate legal advice, review and appeals process it will not be possible to have this resolved in 28 days as explained above and so PCNs issued subsequent to this decision will exceed the 28 day period and expire before issue.
By law, the council has to send out fines within 28 days and ask the DVLA for driver's details within 14 days.
This morning, York Council has confirmed that all back office processes are still in place, which would give the council 28 days to send out fines to those who break the rules.
As Minster FM revealed last night, York Council has suspended sending out fines until it's had more legal advice. However, it's cameras are still recording and drivers are urged to continue obeying the restrictions.
However, since the Lendal Bridge trial finished in February, the council has lowered it's enforcement, meaning not all drivers who break the rules have been fined.
If the fining system has been suspended since the Traffic Adjudicator's judgement last Tuesday, it means the council has a race against time for the legal process to be completed, so it can send out the fines before they would begin expiring in 22 days.
Last night, Darren Richardson, Director of City & Environmental Services at City of York Council, said:
"During the trial 95 per cent of drivers have adhered to the restrictions in place on Lendal bridge and the number of vehicles breaching the restriction had reached a peaked and started to decline. We’ve always said the trial was not to generate revenue, but to reduce traffic going over the bridge and through the city centre, as part of a long-term vision to create an even more attractive and thriving city centre for everyone. As such, once the six month data collection had been completed, the council reviewed and reduced the levels of enforcement, at its discretion, during the restricted hours. Since this point, not every private vehicle breaching the restrictions has received a PCN. This is in line with similar schemes around the country.
"Following legal advice on the trial, restrictions will remain in place and recordings will be taken of any breaches of the restrictions along both Lendal Bridge and Coppergate. Fines will not be issued upon these recordings until further legal process. Drivers are urged to continue to adhere to the restrictions in place."
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