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‘Spy car’ on way to Blackburn despite warnings
PLANS to bring a ‘spy car’ into Blackburn with Darwen to tackle dangerous parking are on track despite the latest expression of ministerial concern.
The council wants to introduce the £50,000 vehicle with a CCTV camera attached to its roof.
The car would use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify the owner of vehicles breaking traffic laws and then issue fines of up to £70 direct to their home.
The borough, which has an application with transport ministers for the necessary powers, denies it wants the car to raise cash.
This week Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said that using CCTV for routine parking enforcement was ‘not acceptable’, warning of a ‘deeply rooted’ public perception of councils which used such cameras as a cash-cow.
He said their use should be limited to around schools, at bus stops and on red ‘no stop’ routes.
Borough regeneration boss Maureen Bateson is confident the council’s proposals for the spy car were in line with government policy.
She said: “People have approached me and other councillors time and time again to say one of their biggest concerns is bad and inconsiderate parking especially near schools. We are keen to explore different ways of solving these problems so we are applying to the Department of Transport for some new and additional powers.
“It’s the start of the process and we are keen to get residents involved in these discussions.”
The new powers, CCTV and ANPR would focus on schools and public transport priority areas.
Headteachers have welcomed the move which is strongly opposed by campaign group Big Brother Watch.
A police spokesman said: “Any powers which can help alleviate traffic problems are welcomed.”
The county council has no plans to seek the ANPR authorisation.
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