Council camera car in parking row
Published 04/08/2011 | 13:00
A council has been accused of double standards after a camera car it uses to give people parking fines was spotted parked on double yellow lines.
The white Vauxhall car with council markings and a distinctive pole-mounted camera on the roof was seen on a side street by a shopkeeper in Plymouth, Devon, parked outside a multi-storey car park.
The city council has refused to apologise, saying that under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 parking enforcement vehicles do not have to abide by parking restrictions.
Pawnbroker John Horton, who took pictures of the car on Tuesday after spotting it on Mayflower Street in the city, said he was gobsmacked and said the council should be setting a better example.
He said: "Why are there double yellow lines there if it doesn't matter if he is parked there? Yellow lines are there for everybody's safety, so the car should not be exempt."
Mr Horton was unable to be exact about how long the car was parked on the double yellow lines, but said it was more than five minutes because he had time to go to his shop, get a camera and walk back to take pictures.
The £70,000 car was introduced last September by the council "to help tackle illegal and dangerous parking in the city".
The camera has been the subject of criticism and complaints by traders, who claim it is driving customers away and also affecting drivers making deliveries to shops in the town centre.
A Plymouth City Council spokesman said: "Enforcement vehicles are exempt from parking restrictions under the Road Traffic Regulation Act so the camera car was parked legally, but we would always encourage our enforcement officers to park in non-restricted areas wherever possible.
"In this particular case the driver was completing some paperwork with the contract cleaners for our fleet vehicles, who are based in the car park. The vehicle cannot enter the car park as the camera is too high, so it was parked outside for a very short time."