Sunderland City Council identifies four benefits in taking over bus lane fine enforcement
Councillors have backed bringing in powers which would allow their local authority to fine drivers £60 for using designated bus lanes.
Sunderland City Council’s cabinet has backed authorising the local authority to consult and take over from Northumbria Police in carrying out enforcement of cars illegally using bus lanes.
They also supported setting the fine for such offences at £60, with enforcement coming through fixed or mobile CCTV cameras.
Councillor Linda Williams, cabinet member for Vibrant City, speaking at the cabinet’s latest meeting, said just that morning she had encountered two cars driving through a bus stop with “no concerns to anyone else”.
She said: “Sadly it was just waiting for an accident to happen.
“This is a well-needed action which we need to move forward with, I just hope that we have funding to be able to ensure that it’s effectively working.
“It’s absolutely great that we can propose to do that but we need to be able to manage the situation and take some action.”
Enforcement of the penalties could begin in spring 2022, subject to further consultation with the Secretary of State, the police and legal processes.
Councillor Claire Rowntree, deputy leader of the council and portfolio holder for environment and transport, explained Northumbria Police currently are responsible for carrying out such enforcement.
However other priorities mean providing a regular presence to enforce consistently is “not always possible”, which can have a “negative impact on the highway network”.
Cllr Rowntree added: “The benefits of taking over responsibility for bus lane enforcement will mean that the council can improve punctuality of bus services, reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote active travel.
“Undertaking the responsibility for bus lane contraventions will greatly assist with managing the highway network and ensuring the safe movement of traffic along it.
“In taking over these powers the council will be able to influence driver behaviour and improve the operational performance of the highway network.”
She added the costs for the plans would be funded from the existing services budget for the area.
It comes after the cabinet last month also approved looking to bring in new powers for the council to enforce moving traffic offences, such as banned turns, contraventions in box junctions and driving in formal cycle lanes.