Spy cars banned 001Parking penalties issued by CCTV ‘spy car’ patrols are to be almost completely banned by the Government, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have announced.

Councils will only be able to issue on-street parking tickets by wardens physically fixing the charge notice to the windscreen – tickets in the post from CCTV footage captured by the cars will be made illegal.

The only exceptions to the ban will be parking next to schools, in bus lanes and on red routes – “where public transport must be kept moving for safety reasons”.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls.

“Today the Government is taking urgently needed action to ban this clear abuse of CCTV, which should be used to catch criminals, and not as a cash cow.”

The government is also forcing councils to publish how income from parking charges is being used: local authority parking revenue in England has more than doubled from £608 million in £1997 to £1.3 billion in 2010.

Local authorities issue nine million parking fines a year.

Other interesting changes will include the trial of a 25% discount for motorists who lose an appeal against a parking ticket, less use of heavy handed tactics such as bailiffs and a promise not to fine motorists who park at a broken meter if there are no other alternatives to pay.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear.”