The Sunday Telegraph

Council has ‘moral duty to refund illegal LTN fines’

- By Steve Bird

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.”

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