More than 900 fines are being issued every week as drivers fail to realise they’re going through a controversial road block in Lewisham.
Lewisham Council has issued more than 60,000 fines at a low-traffic zone in Dermody Road, significantly more than any other over the past year, a resident’s Freedom of Information request has revealed.
But the council insists it’s a significant improvement on previous fine figures.
The fines were dished out after road users were clocked by one of the camera-enforced barriers in the Lee Green low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN).
The LTN, a set of road closures with the aim of reducing car use and promoting healthier travel, was brought in under Covid-19 emergency measures last year.
Drivers must pay £130 if they drive through the road blocks, but can see their fines halved if they pay within two weeks.
But Lewisham has cancelled more than 27,000 fines for Dermody Road – the council has been asked for more details on the exact figure.
Lewisham Council has issued more than 60,000 fines to drivers going through one road block
(Image: LDR Grainne Cuffe)
The council partly rolled back the LTN in November to help relieve traffic congestion in neighbouring areas.
The Dermody Road camera was adjusted to allow vehicles travel one-way west to east, except for those with exemptions such as the emergency services and Blue Badge holders.
It emerged in April that the council had issued more than 17,000 fines to that particular road block within four months.
The figure was about 20 times higher than the road block with the next highest number of fines.
Locals, who said the signs were inadequate, accused the council of using the road block as a “cash cow”, instead of trying to prevent drivers from going through.
The council installed bigger signs in response, painted ‘no motor vehicles’ on the road, and added a new sign warning drivers approaching the road.
But the number of fines issued for each road block between August 2020 and June showed the figures are still high, a resident’s Freedom of Information request revealed.
It showed that the council issued 7,791 fines in April, 5,227 in May, and 943 for the first week in June.
The nearby Ennersdale Road barrier represents the next highest number of fines issued in June – with just 46.
Ahead of Lewisham’s full council on July 21, a resident asked the cabinet member for environment why the council considers the signage effective “in view of the high level of accidental violations”.
Councillor Sophie McGeevor said: “Since these changes have been made we have seen a considerable improvement in the levels of compliance.”
The resident asked for more details at the meeting.
Cllr Patrick Codd, interim cabinet member for environment, said there had been a 59 per cent drop in fines issued in Dermody Road.
He said: “The average number of PCNs in the run up to the changes 2,252 per week, and once we installed the additional signs the number of PCNs dropped to an average of 922 per week, representing a 59 per cent decrease, which is good that far more people are adhering to the signs.”
A spokesperson for the council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The measure in Dermody Road has been in place since July 2020 and we have continued to review it.
“We have listened to feedback and increased the number and size of signs and road markings and added additional formal and informal advanced warning signs in the area.
“This has led to a significant reduction in the number of PCNs issued.
“We are currently undertaking a consultation as part of our review of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood and would encourage local people to share their views by feeding into that.”