The Sunday Telegraph
Council has ‘moral duty to refund illegal LTN fines’
A COUNCIL that introduced a low traffic neighbourhood “illegally” is being urged to repay hundreds of thousands of pounds made from motoring fines.
Lambeth Council admitted that an “administrative error” meant it had closed roads in south London without obtaining the proper authority.
The High Court heard that town hall bosses had “jumped the gun” by signing off “experimental traffic orders” to create the Oval Triangle low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) before the council had published a required “decision report”.
Campaigners against the scheme say the council has a “moral duty” to refund drivers fined up to £130 for entering an LTN it introduced “ultra vires”, beyond its powers. A freedom of information request reveals that, in the average month, more than £80,000 is obtained in fines from drivers in the Oval LTN.
The OneLambeth campaign group, which opposes LTNs, said: “If the council admitted that the Oval Triangle LTN was introduced illegally, then they should also admit the fines levied on residents living near by – including disabled drivers – were imposed without authority.
The “administrative error” emerged during a High Court hearing in which Sofia Sheakh, a disabled Lambeth resident, is seeking a judicial review. She claims the introduction of LTNs across the borough has blighted the lives of disabled people who rely on cars.
The council said: “We made an error by not publishing a decision report prior to issuing a traffic order. We acknowledge this fault, but believe the Oval LTN traffic order is not invalidated by this administrative error. We reject that these schemes are discriminatory in any way, or installed illegally.”