The Secrets of Hammersmith and Fulham

August 13, 2007

“There are no secrets better kept than the secrets that everybody guesses.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Way back in December 2006 I put in a Freedom of Information Act request to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF for short) for a list of box junctions that were being enforced. I already knew from the PATAS appeals register that they were enforcing the junctions of New Kings Road/Bagleys Lane and New Kings Road/Wandsworth Bridge Road.

To cut a long story short, the Council hid behind section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act which covers Law Enforcement Agencies, saying:

“In all the circumstances it is considered that withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it as disclosure would be likely to encourage unlawful use of yellow boxes in the borough. What I can say is that the council will be progressively increasing its use of enforcement through CCTV to provide a greater deterrent to the illegal use of box junctions and is likely to increasingly use mobile cameras.”

We live in a society that requires the location of all speed cameras to be disclosed and for these cameras to be in the open and clearly marked. In addition, most other London boroughs don’t have a problem with the disclosure of their box junction enforcement sites, so what makes LBHF think they are so special? Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Significant Appeals

August 7, 2007

When I first started this blog I never really thought that I would join the ranks of the “real-time” bloggers, but so much is happening this week that I feel a need to document it as it unfolds.

Last month was a downer with all pending appeals cancelled, but this week I have two appeals that are definitely being contested. On Wednesday (8th Aug) we are up against Transport for London (TfL) and on Friday (10th Aug) we take on Islington.

The TfL appeal concerns the box junction at Battersea Bridge Road and Westbridge Road. This is being contested on four grounds:

  1. The confusing and ambiguous wording of the PCN renders it invalid
  2. The Wording of the Notice of Rejection does not conform to the legislation
  3. The yellow box marking does not conform to the legislation
  4. The contravention was unavoidable due to “unforeseen obstruction”.

TfL have not submitted anything to counter our arguments for points 1 and 2. They have strongly defended point 3, and would appear to be leaving the video evidence to speak for itself in support of point 4.

The Islington appeal concerns the box junction in Liverpool Road. That’s not really important because this is a test case to determine whether the wording of the Islington Moving Traffic PCN is lawful or not.

Experience has shown that previously, this kind of case would have ended up as a ‘no contest’. The fact that Islington Parking Dept has the courage to defend its actions does seem to confirm the commitment to put its house in order following the appointment of a Parking Advocate.

On top of this there are challenges taking shape against Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Waltham Forest.

Next instalment tomorrow…


Never Mind the Quality

July 14, 2007

“Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.” (George Santayana)

It would appear that local authorities feel that they are accountable to no one. They do not publish performance figures for parking, bus lane, or moving traffic enforcement. If you want to find out more, generally speaking, you have to lodge a freedom of information request.

There is one notable exception: Transport for London (TfL) it would appear, does set performance targets and has published at least one performance review. It’s a bit of an odd document in that it only covers 7 months (as opposed to a year) from April – October 2006, but it is, never the less, quite enlightening. Read the rest of this entry »