One junction in Westminster brought in more than £330,000.

Authorities in London and Cardiff made more than £58 million in driver fines during the 2018/19 financial year, according to analysis published today. The study of official data by the RAC found authorities in the two capitals had earned 25 percent more from offences such as stopping in a ‘yellow box’ junction or making an illegal turn than during the same period two years earlier.

Local authorities in Cardiff and London are currently the only councils capable of moving traffic offence enforcement, although that power is set to be extended to all councils in England and Wales. At present, local authorities outside the two cities only have the power to enforce bus lane contraventions.

However, the figures seen by the RAC, which were obtained via Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, showed London and Cardiff earned a combined total of £58.2 million from penalty charge notices (PCNs) for offences including ‘no entry’ and ‘no turn’ offences during 2018/19. That’s up 25 percent on the figure from 2016/17, although the number of PCNs issued was 34 percent higher in 2018/19.

Of all the offences that raised money for councils and local authorities, yellow box junctions were by far the most lucrative, bringing in a massive £31.4m in 2018/19. That’s in contrast to the £22.3m earned from ‘no turn’ offences and £4.4m from ‘no entry’ contraventions.

Hammersmith and Fulham made the most from yellow box junctions, raking in £3.5 million on its own, despite having a mere 16 enforced yellow box junctions. Redbridge, meanwhile, earned £2.4 million from 14 enforced junctions. However, the highest taking from a single junction was the £333,295 earned from 4,595 PCNs at a yellow box junction in Westminster.

Delivery truck crosses Westminster Bridge with no traffic at dawn in London

“It’s plain for all to see that London boroughs, Transport for London, and Cardiff are generating phenomenal sums of money from the enforcement of moving traffic offences,” said RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes.

“The vast majority of drivers we’ve surveyed agree that those who stop on yellow boxes, make illegal turns or go through ‘no entry’ signs need to be penalised, but when it comes to extending powers to other councils many are concerned, with 68 percent thinking local authorities will rush to install cameras to generate additional revenue. Clearly, the priority for enforcement should be to improve road safety and reduce congestion.

Red traffic light in Canary Wharf London

“The Department for Transport has decided to extend enforcement powers to other local authorities, but we believe guidance should be issued setting out where enforcement should be targeted and the types of signs that must be used to make drivers aware that enforcement cameras are operating, and for what type of moving traffic offence. It should also make clear the circumstances in which a PCN can be appealed and where mitigating circumstances may apply such as stopping in a yellow box to allow an emergency services vehicle to go by.

“We welcome proposals that first offenders are sent a warning letter before subsequent penalties apply. This is particularly important where changes are made to urban road layouts. What we do not want is this being seen by cash-strapped local authorities as a way to generate revenue. In addition, we would urge local authorities to publish annual reports of moving traffic offence receipts by type and by junction. We would also encourage them to monitor hot spots where an unusually high proportion of PCNs are issued as this is more than likely a clear indication of a problem with signage or road layout.”