With lockdown easing and traffic returning it’s now possible for councils to use CCTV to once again fine drivers who drive in bus lanes or park outside schools on keep clear markings, and in a new move recently introduced fine those who park and block mandatory cycle lanes.
But not in Greenwich borough. Cameras are yet to be switched on six years after the authority first started talking about it and 15 years after being given powers to do so.
While this was happening, the authority were placing much effort into publicity and campaigns supporting Silvertown Tunnel. They were also spending large sums commissioning reports on healthier living while concrete measures to enable it were absent.
Former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling blocked the use of cameras for standard parking infringements though retained them for offences outside schools, bus lanes, yellow box junctions and illegal turns at junctions.
In 2019 the borough was just one of three in London not to use cameras to monitor and penalise driving offences.
A reply to a question from Conservative Cllr Matt Clare to Labour Cllr Jackie Smith at tonight’s council meeting reveals CCTV is still not operational despite the authority eventually gaining permission in May 2019, which helps to explain why cycle lane parking is still endemic across the borough.
Much of the initial burst of cycling seen during lockdown in the borough has already been snuffed out as traffic returns to normal levels in many places.
A few more weeks until cameras are switched on, then a couple more weeks until fines are issued could be enough to kill off growth entirely.
If years hadn’t been wasted on securing powers that 29 out of 32 London councils possess, CCTV would already be in action monitoring cars outside schools and now cycle lanes, and would help alleviate a £12 million parking income shortfall seen in recent years. That’s £12 million that would have improved streets borough-wide.