Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Four Southall box junctions are illegal

Ealing Council has finally accepted that 4 hotly disputed box junctions in Southall are illegal.

A lot more motorist fined for entering 4 box junctions in Southall are set to receive refunds after it emerges that the Council knew for a long time that they were illegal.

4 weeks ago, Ealing Council said it would no longer enforce 6 illegal box junctions and any one iissued with a ticket since October 30 would have the money refunded.

Ealing Council blamed the Department of Transport for taking nearly 8 months to reach a decision over the legality of these junctions.

It now emerges that an email was sent by the Department of Transport on 20th June stating that they would not authorise the use of box junctions in the 6 disputed locations, 4 of them being in Southall.

Now, Ealing Council will refund anyone issued with a ticket since 20th June 2008 to comply with the Department of Transports guidance.

Councillor Taylor said that the Council was unaware of the email. He is furious that the email was never brought to his attention and has ordered an immediate investigation on how this could have happened.

At the end of 2007, several drivers were successful at appeal hearings at the parking adjudicator. Some time after that the Council sought the guidance of the Department of Transport.

On October 29 2008, a bus company successfully appealed and was awarded £700 in costs. The lawyer for the council was still claiming the box junctions were legal.

This defeat and advice from the Department for Transport resulted in a change of Council policy. These junctions were no longer to be enforced and any one iissued with a ticket since October 30 was promised a refunded.

Cabinet Member for Customer and Community Services, Councillor Phil Taylor, said: "Following a meeting with the Department for Transport in June we understood that double width yellow boxes could be placed at the T-junctions, as long as there was sufficient traffic flow in the area."

"We provided additional data and fully expected the DfT to confirm they were happy. Now eight months after we originally approached them, they appear to be suggesting this is not the case, but have still failed to provide us with a report setting out their position, despite repeated requests."

"It is ridiculous that it has taken the Government department which sets the rules so many months to interpret its own manual and we still have not received a definitive response. This just underlines how unclear the regulations are. "

But they did reply on 20th June 2008 saying the box junctions were illegal.

No the Council will refund anyone issued with a ticket since 20th June to comply with the Department of Transports guidance.

In the last financial year, the single illegal box junction at South Road/St Joseph’s Drive in Southall generated the Council a cool £1 million.

According to Ealing Times, this year twice as many penalty tickets were being handed out on these illegal junctions. Over £3 million has been collected on these illegal box junctions in Southall and Ealing Broadway.

The South Road/St Joseph's Drive box junction generated more than £2.1m and the 3 near by junctions generated a further £1m.

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