Council cashes in with Waltham Forest traffic camera fines

Motorists in Waltham Forest have coughed up £27million in fines over the last decade after being caught driving poorly on council-owned CCTV.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to Waltham Forest Council showed they issued £5.6m in fines in the last financial year alone.

The borough’s biggest “earner” last year was a bus lane on Whipps Cross Road, which pulled in more than £1m in fines, although a number of other bus lanes and junctions all over the borough have proved a problem for drivers.

This income stream is likely to grow even higher in future, as the number of traffic cameras around the borough doubled to 146 in the last year.

The council’s deputy leader Clyde Loakes said the cameras are aimed at reducing harmful emissions and to improve safety.

He added: “Most drivers are careful and responsibly follow the restrictions, but we will enforce against those who do not show due attention to road signage and markings or pay respect to the safety of other road users.”

When asked why the council doubled the number of traffic cameras last year, he explained the majority are part of the borough’s eight new ‘School Streets’ schemes, which fine drivers for entering the roads around schools during drop-off and pick-up times.

He said: “School Streets help reduce air pollution, keep young people away from busy, congested school run roads, and have been introduced with the support of school parents and staff who wanted to see more being done to keep pupils safe.

“We continue to improve the Enjoy Waltham Forest programme to encourage even more residents to enjoy walking, cycling, and mini scootering safely.

“We must do all we can to promote sustainable travel, reduce harmful emissions, and live healthier lives.”

Here are the areas of the borough where drivers were most often fined last year:

  • Whipps Cross Road bus lane – £1.2million last year. Drivers who stray into the bus lane approaching Green Man Interchange have paid the council £2.9million since the camera was installed in 2019.
  • Forest Road to Blackhorse Road, no left turn – £628,000 in paid fines last year. Turning left at this busy junction has cost drivers £2.1million since 2015.
  • South Access Road, local buses only – £474,000 last year. Only buses are allowed to pass St James Park in either direction. Drivers who miss or ignore the signs have generated £715,000 since installation in 2020.
  • Kings Road and Pretoria Road, Chingford, box junction – £262,000 last year. Trained on the yellow box at the junction, the camera has earned £943,000 since 2017.
  • Theobald Road to Lea Bridge Road, no right turn – £234,000 last year. Since 2019 it has generated £1,000,000.
  • Albert Crescent and Hall Lane box junction – £182,000 last year. £869,000 since 2017.
  • Salcombe Road to Lea Bridge Road, no right turn – £157,000 last year, £668,000 since installation in 2019.
  • Chingford Road to Dudley Road, modal filter – £112,000 since installation in February 2021. Using an 18-month Experimental Traffic Order, the camera is designed to address “historic concerns over the volume, speed and impact of traffic” on residential streets.
  • Orford Road, Walthamstow Village, local buses only 10am-10pm – £3.3million since 2015. Drivers are slowly wising up, as its income dropped from more than £900,000 in 2016 to £93,000 last year.
  • Leytonstone High Road and Bush Road, box junction approaching Green Man Interchange – £758,000 since 2017, last year income dropped to £56,000.
  • McDonald’s, Leytonstone, no right turn onto the High Road – £2.5million since 2015. The camera’s top year was 2018 when it made ​​£575,305, income dropped to £52,000 last year.
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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter