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MP had accused City of London Corporation of banning vehicles for financial, not safety reasons

UPDATED: The City of London Corporation says that more than nine in 10 motorists are complying with a ban on vehicles other than buses and bicycles at Bank Junction.

The local authority that governs the Square Mile began an 18-month trial of the ban, which applies from 7am to 7pm on Mondays to Fridays, in May this year, and was responding to comments made by a Conservative MP who claimed the ban was motivated more by a desire to raise money through fining motorists who ignore it, rather than for safety concerns.

The ban, which is currently being undertaken on a trial basis, is aimed at making the junction safer for vulnerable road users, whether on foot or on a bike, as well as improving air quality and relieving congestion on the bus routes that run through it.

In a statement, the Corporation said: “Our number one priority for the experimental scheme at Bank junction is to improve safety. For too long it has been one of the capital’s dangerous hotspots. 

“We have made every effort to inform the public of the traffic restrictions. 

“This included generating publicity, meeting local businesses, residents and road user groups and sending over 16,500 letters.   

“There are over 100 road signs and advance warnings in the area advising drivers about the closure to vehicles and we used the services of a sign expert to ensure these were as clear as possible. We also initially issued warning letters when the scheme started. >  

“The objective of the Penalty Charge Notices is to act as a deterrent. >  

“Any funds generated from the scheme will be held in reserve and as required by legislation directed towards funding various highway or road maintenance improvements.

“We now see less vehicles pass through the junction during the 12 hour restriction than would pass through in an hour, before the scheme was implemented.

"This equates to over 90 per cent compliance to the scheme.

"As a safety scheme, our end goal is to see 100 per cent compliance at the junction." 

The introduction of the ban in May was welcomed by cycling campaigners, who had lobbied for safety improvements at the junction since the death there of 26-year-old Ying Tao in 2015, when she was crushed by a lorry as she rode to work.

> Day 1 of Bank Junction vehicle ban - but video shows some drivers ignoring it

While the City of London Corporation initially sent warning letters to motorists caught flouting the ban, in June it began fining them, with vehicle registrations captured using seven cameras equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (APNR) technology around the junction.

Nevertheless, large numbers of motorists are continuing to drive through Bank Junction outside the permitted hours.

The Daily Star reports that an average of 1,498 drivers were fined each day between 7 June and 17 July, according to a Freedom of Information request.

With a fixed penalty notice of £130 being issued to transgressors, total fines during that period were almost £200,000 a day.

The newspaper extrapolates that to being equivalent to almost £50 million a year – although that figure, equivalent to around 375,000 individual fines, seems to assume that drivers would not change their behaviour after being caught the first time.

Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover, told the Daily Star: “The cameras on this junction are fleecing motorists for £200,000 a day.

“Many people would say this looks like a case of revenue-raising rather than anything to do with traffic safety.

“Cameras [that] are simply there to raise revenue cause big resentment and are incredibly unfair,” he added.

Following Ying Tao’s death, the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists held a vigil and die-in at the junction that was attended by hundreds of riders.

When the ban was implemented in May, the group’s co-founder, Donnachadh McCarthy, said it was an “historic day for cyclists and pedestrians in London.

He added: “We congratulate City of London for taking the steps to change the lifestyle for cyclists in the city.”

The introduction of the restrictions was also welcomed by Green Party London Assembly Member Caroline Russell, who described Bank as "a notoriously dangerous junction."

She said that incidents in which vulnerable road users are injured or killed "are happening to our friends and neighbours.

"Road safety isn't just a problem for someone, it's a problem for all Londoners,” she added.

In a guest blog published on road.cc in January this year, Christopher Hayward, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, outlined details of the experimental safety scheme.

The aim was “to improve the safety of road users and pedestrians with the aim of reducing casualties and improving air quality at one of London’s busiest junctions,” he wrote.

> Guest blog: London's Bank junction trial aims for dramatic reduction in cyclist and pedestrian casualties

He continued: “A number of casualties and fatalities have highlighted very real concerns about safety at this junction.

“With cyclists now making up to 50 per cent of the traffic crossing the junction in peak times, we felt that it was fundamental that cyclist safety be seen as very important.”

He added that the City of London Corporation hoped the restrictions on motor vehicles would lead to a reduction in casualties of between 50 and 60 per cent.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

36 comments

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brooksby [2488 posts] 1 month ago
12 likes

I don't think the City of London Corporation is exactly short of money  , so "revenue raising exercise" doesn't ring true for me, I'm afraid...

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STiG911 [264 posts] 1 month ago
23 likes

Erm, cameras don't fleece motorits, they just catch the ones who are too stupid / arrogant / DGAF about using Bank Junction despite all the signs telling them not too.

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SNS1938 [116 posts] 1 month ago
11 likes

“Cameras [that] are simply there to raise revenue cause big resentment and are incredibly unfair,”

Right ... unfair becuase??? There's a law (and the law may be unfair, depending on your point of view), but the camera's are just fining people who break the rules. Is he saying it would be more ''fair'' to have the ban, but then not fine the 1500 drivers who break the law each day?? It annoys me (a rule follower) no end to have rules that are then not enforced. I would be interested to know how many people were fined more than once, i.e. they didnt learn their lesson and just flauted the law.

These types of changes are crucial to making biking safer and more efficient, which will lead to more people cycling, which lowers pollution, improves health, cuts fuel imports ... I literally know of no negative effect of peopel cycling on a safe road/trail system. 

As for 200k/day ... awesome work there. The drivers paid a voluntary tax to the city of London. Thank you.

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esayers [50 posts] 1 month ago
12 likes

It's always the same, if a driver breaks the rules; speeding, uses bus lanes, jumping red lights, it is always "oh it's just a money making exercise".  Maybe there needs to be some other way of discouraging drivers that don't want to follow the rules? banning petrol refils for a year, capping the vehicle speed to 15mph, blocking the car from moving unless at least 2 passenger seats are occupied, capping mileage so the car automatically stops when the driver has driven 50 miles over a week, disabling all sound/music equipment and replacing it with a person playing olde folke tunes on a misstuned harmonica, any other ideas?

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check12 [120 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Start giving them points. 

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univ2293 [17 posts] 1 month ago
12 likes

I cycle through Bank every day, the restriction has completely transformed the junction and the atmosphere around there.  Not sure what skin the MP for Dover has in the game...

I do wonder if I would spot the signs if I didn't know about the fine, but they've put more up and it's a driver's responsibility to read road signs, isn't it?

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ribena [184 posts] 1 month ago
31 likes

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

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embattle [63 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
univ2293 wrote:

I cycle through Bank every day, the restriction has completely transformed the junction and the atmosphere around there.  Not sure what skin the MP for Dover has in the game...

I do wonder if I would spot the signs if I didn't know about the fine, but they've put more up and it's a driver's responsibility to read road signs, isn't it?

 

Probably more effective to have some sort of temporary barrier to stop cars etc but then that might affect the non existant requirement for revenue...cough.

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ChrisB200SX [490 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Really looking forward to the facts and figures once this has been in place for 6 months or a year...
Would really like to see fines doubling each time the same driver repeats the offence, should make them learn faster and clear the junction of cars quicker?

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Legin [126 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
univ2293 wrote:

I cycle through Bank every day, the restriction has completely transformed the junction and the atmosphere around there.  Not sure what skin the MP for Dover has in the game...

I do wonder if I would spot the signs if I didn't know about the fine, but they've put more up and it's a driver's responsibility to read road signs, isn't it?

As do I on my Doris bike; far safer and has knocked 4 minutes off my 14 m journey. Typical MP saying what his paymasters tell him to say.

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davel [1597 posts] 1 month ago
11 likes
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Thanks for that - I couldn't work out what Elphicke had to gain by this.

He's actually done a lot of public-spirited stuff: his work for the Public Administration Committee on bringing the religious aspect to charity recognition up-to-date; the public buy-out of Dover port; the investigation of multinational tax-dodging.

This is just a really disappointingly obvious bit of lobbying which runs contrary to the public interest, in an area of the country that has jack-all to do with him. It's bribery or corruption by another name.

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turboprannet [269 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Prick

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Bmblbzzz [150 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

One thing about the £200,000 a day received in fines: what do people, especially locals, think happens to that money? Or to put it another way, would the majority of people prefer £200,000 a day to be raised through traffic fines or in some other way, such as council tax, local sales tax, etc? 

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balmybaldwin [199 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes
check12 wrote:

Start giving them points. 

There's no point with over 200,000 drivers on 12+ points happily driving around legally in the UK. Never mind those driving illegally

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ktache [608 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

According to the bbc, there is a woman in Oxfordshire with 51 points, and stll allowed to drive.

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KevM [40 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Funny that...politicians following the opinions of their donors. Can't say I've ever heard of that happening before....  3

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congokid [319 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

"MP says ..."

Equals lies.

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Al__S [1244 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

I saw on other reports that the FoI/press release on it, that he was responding to, came from Fair Fuel Uk, who are very much an astroturf organisation

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kitsunegari [256 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes
Quote:

Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover, told the Daily Star: “The cameras on this junction are fleecing motorists for £200,000 a day.

I would think that my learned friend could extrapolate from this that there are too many drivers breaking the law.

Why therefore is he not suggesting re-education?

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RedfishUK [157 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
embattle wrote:

Probably more effective to have some sort of temporary barrier to stop cars etc but then that might affect the non existant requirement for revenue...cough.

 

Buses are allowed through so, a physical barrier would be difficult.

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kitsunegari [256 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

I think you're reading far much into this: the MP for Dover is simply concerned that this ban on cars at this junction in London will affect his constituents. 78% of drivers in Dover all drive through the bank junction every day at 8am, didn't you know?

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FluffyKittenofT... [1727 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
KevM wrote:
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Funny that...politicians following the opinions of their donors. Can't say I've ever heard of that happening before....  3

Reminiscent of another non-London MP telling Londoners how to manage their transport system - Rob Flello. Also RHA funded.

To be entirely sure, though, I guess one would need to look at all MPs who have had money from that source, and see if there's a significant correlation with random pro-motorist interventions. Maybe the RHA just fund loads of MPs?

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FatBoyW [231 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

I rode through this junction a few times on a boris bike needing to turn righ towards monument.

 

Had my first chance to do so again last week - it is SO much safer! There were few places in London where I have felt unsafe doing the right thing - but the right turn I'm talking about is up hill and a distance from the light you have  travelled from - traffic was always coming at you!

 

Now with the number of cars much reduced it is really nice! Plus there are so many pedestrians its like a new world - truly wonderful and should be the vision of London in the future.

Imagine the whole place with no trucks or cars between 7am and 7pm it would be a beautiful city!!!

For now I will enjoy my occaisonal visits a lot more - just wish they put a few coppers there on a regular basis to give out the 3 points to the drivers that they should be gettting  -not exactl driving with due care going past six sets of signs saying you are not allowed beyond this point!

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ribena [184 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
KevM wrote:
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Funny that...politicians following the opinions of their donors. Can't say I've ever heard of that happening before....  3

Reminiscent of another non-London MP telling Londoners how to manage their transport system - Rob Flello. Also RHA funded. To be entirely sure, though, I guess one would need to look at all MPs who have had money from that source, and see if there's a significant correlation with random pro-motorist interventions. Maybe the RHA just fund loads of MPs?

 

Hmm, you're right.

RHA donations..

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11843/rob_flello/stoke-on-trent_south#...

Views against cycle lanes...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cyclists-increase-congestion-air-po...

road.cc you need to do some investigating!

 

Avatar
Morat [263 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
ribena wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
KevM wrote:
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Funny that...politicians following the opinions of their donors. Can't say I've ever heard of that happening before....  3

Reminiscent of another non-London MP telling Londoners how to manage their transport system - Rob Flello. Also RHA funded. To be entirely sure, though, I guess one would need to look at all MPs who have had money from that source, and see if there's a significant correlation with random pro-motorist interventions. Maybe the RHA just fund loads of MPs?

 

Hmm, you're right.

RHA donations..

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11843/rob_flello/stoke-on-trent_south#...

Views against cycle lanes...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cyclists-increase-congestion-air-po...

road.cc you need to do some investigating!

 

 

yep c'mon journos it's not just about the review kit and the swag!  1

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CXR94Di2 [1721 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I bet air pollution has also dropped significantly in the local vicinity.

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Anthony7 [1 post] 1 month ago
0 likes

Without physical separation, cycles and cars cannot peacefully co-exist. For the sake of our economy and well-being, maybe cycling itself needs to take a hard look in the mirror - at least according to this article: https://www.accredited-times.com/2017/08/17/need-ban-cycling-now/

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Jitensha Oni [83 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Morat wrote:
ribena wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
KevM wrote:
ribena wrote:

I'm sure it's just a coincidence, but Charlie Elphicke receives 22,000 pounds from the Road Haulage Association, who are opposed to this ban.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24777/charlie_elphicke/dover#register

https://www.rha.uk.net/news/2017-04-april/rha-messenger-26-april

 

Funny that...politicians following the opinions of their donors. Can't say I've ever heard of that happening before....  3

Reminiscent of another non-London MP telling Londoners how to manage their transport system - Rob Flello. Also RHA funded. To be entirely sure, though, I guess one would need to look at all MPs who have had money from that source, and see if there's a significant correlation with random pro-motorist interventions. Maybe the RHA just fund loads of MPs?

 

Hmm, you're right.

RHA donations..

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11843/rob_flello/stoke-on-trent_south#...

Views against cycle lanes...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cyclists-increase-congestion-air-po...

road.cc you need to do some investigating!

 

 

yep c'mon journos it's not just about the review kit and the swag!  1

another yes please here  1

Avatar
Bill H [58 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

The only money angle in this story is the Corporation of London competing with Westminster for financial firms deciding where to put their London HQ's (sorry LDDC, but docklands is for techies and back office, both soon to be off-shored or automated).

The City cannot boast the Royal Parks but it can make the journey to work a lot nicer. In Westminster the car is still King. That's a plus for today's old men in limo's but the generation behind them expect to be able to run or cycle into the office. Those are the people that the City aldermen are appealing to with these changes.

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davel [1597 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

@Bill H - no, that really isn't the only angle. The whole story arises from an MP from miles away sticking his oar in to voice the opinion of a lobby group that pays him.

And you need to walk around Docklands. HSBC has everything in its tower, including its execs and traders; the FCA is based a couple of doors down. That's just one block along one side of Canada Square.

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