Sadiq Khan accused of a ‘money-grab’ over planned 23% jump in road fines

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY AUGUST 5 File photo dated 29/4/2020 of traffic on the A40 Western Avenue in Acton, northwest London. The average cost of motor insurance has fallen to a five-year low as coronavirus lockdowns have led to fewer claims, according to insurers. Drivers are paying �430 on average for comprehensive cover - the lowest figure since the first quarter of 2016 - the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said. Issue date: Thursday August 5, 2021.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of “waging a war on drivers” due to a planned hike in fines for breaking rules on the capital’s busiest roads.

The RAC described Transport for London’s (TfL) proposal to increase the maximum penalty charge notice (PCN) on red routes from £130 to £160 as “unnecessary”.

TfL, which is chaired by Mr Khan, said it would be the first rise in a decade and is intended to be a more effective deterrent that will “lead to a reduced level of contraventions”.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Only last week, the mayor announced hikes to the Congestion Charge, and now he follows this up with an unnecessary hike in the penalty charge level.

The announcement comes just days after TfL said it planned to make a 30% increase in the Congestion Charge permanent.

Congestion charge zone in London

London’s red routes are roads managed by TfL, and have special rules on when and where vehicles can stop and park in a bid to keep traffic flowing.

They make up 5% of the capital’s roads but carry 30% of traffic.

Drivers face being issued with PCNs when they park on double red lines, or on single red lines at times when parking is not permitted.

The fines can also be handed out for parking illegally in loading bays, blocking yellow box junctions, making banned turns, or driving or parking in bus lanes when it is not allowed.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Only last week, the mayor announced hikes to the Congestion Charge, and now he follows this up with an unnecessary hike in the penalty charge level.

“The previous levy should have been a sufficient enough deterrent to prevent contraventions, so this rise appears to be nothing more than a money-grab.

“It is starting to feel like the Mayor of London is waging a war on drivers and businesses that rely on their vehicles with another eye-watering hike.”

TfL’s director of compliance and policing Siwan Hayward insisted that “we’d much rather people follow the rules than fine them”.

She went on: “The proposed increase in fines is intended to increase compliance with the rules and make streets safer, cleaner and less congested for everyone.”

TfL said its proposed increase is in line with inflation since the last rise in April 2011, and all income from PCNs is reinvested to cover the cost of enforcement and in schemes to reduce road danger.

Under the plan, fines would be reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days.

A consultation into the proposal is open until September 19.