A pilot initiative is about to get underway in which drivers breaking the speed limit could be issued fines by the council instead of the police. Wandsworth is the first local authority in the UK to be piloting this type of scheme.
Once in force motorists will be penalised if they exceed the 20mph limit on two busy residential roads in the borough – Wimbledon Park Road and Priory Lane – which are both the subjects of numerous complaints from local people about excessive vehicle speeds.
The Wandsworth pilot is designed to support and not replace Met Police enforcement of excessive traffic speeds in the borough – and is a direct response to complaints from local people who support greater levels of enforcement.
Council leader Cllr Simon Hogg said: “Speeding traffic is one of the biggest sources of complaints we receive from our residents. Ensuring drivers stick to the 20mph limit not only improves safety levels and encourages more people to walk or cycle, it helps reduce harmful emissions too.
“Until now, only the Metropolitan Police have had powers to enforce speed limits, but they tend to concentrate their resources on main roads and dual carriageways, whereas most of the complaints we receive are about people driving too fast along quieter residential streets.
“Our pilot scheme will focus on two residential roads where excessive speeds are known to be an issue.
“If judged a success, we will look to make it permanent and carry out enforcement in other parts of the borough where we know vehicle speeds are excessive.”
Traffic studies conducted recently over an eight-week period found that one in four vehicles broke the speed limit in Priory Lane while in Wimbledon Park Road it was one in five.
The Wandsworth scheme will get underway later this month and continue for upto eight months using an experimental traffic order. Offences will be caught on camera and for an initial period only, warning letters will be sent to the vehicle’s owners. After this initial period expires, penalty charge notices (PCNs) will be sent instead. The PCN will impose a fine of £130, with a 50 per cent discount if paid within 14 days. Under the council scheme, however, offenders will not receive penalty points on their licence.
Money received from fines will be ‘ringfenced’ and ploughed back into road safety initiatives in the borough.
The scheme has been approved by London Councils – the umbrella group representing all 32 town halls in the capital. If the Wandsworth pilot is judged a success other councils in London and elsewhere are likely to follow suit.
(Picture – Wandsworth Council)