Drivers using Sunderland bus lanes could face £60 fines under new rules

Drivers caught using designated bus lanes in Sunderland could face £60 fines under new rules.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 6:13 pm

Sunderland City Council has said that a decision on taking up the powers is due when its cabinet meets on Tuesday, December 7.

Enforcement of the penalties could then begin in Spring 2022, subject to further consultation with the Secretary of State, the police and legal processes, the local authority said.

The council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr Claire Rowntree, said: "There are very strong feelings about drivers and highways users who do not follow the Highway Code and who fail to drive with due care and attention.

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Motorists who are caught driving in bus lanes in Sunderland could soon face fines of £60.

"These enforcement powers are important as they will go towards helping improve the punctuality of bus services, influence and promote the carbon reducing benefits of public transport, and ensure that more highways users do follow and obey the rules and regulations that are necessary when we are out on the highways."

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The council said it is expected that any incidents resulting in a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) would be on the basis of a record produced by a CCTV camera, with the registered keeper of a vehicle then receiving notice of a contravention by letter.

The notices would not cover speeding offences monitored by cameras which remain with Northumbria Police and the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative (NSRI).

The council is already an approved authority for bus lane enforcement but needs to take further actions, including consultation with Northumbria Police and the Secretary of State, before it can issue £60 PCNs.

Cllr Rowntree added: "There are many benefits to be gained from taking up these powers as the public gains a better understanding of who has overall responsibility for enforcement and the police can concentrate on other matters.

"Targeted enforcement in bus lanes can go towards helping improve bus punctuality and journey times making buses more attractive choices for members of the public."

At its meeting last month, the council’s cabinet agreed that the local authority should, also further to more Government approvals and consultation, look to adopt legal powers on enforcing ‘moving traffic contraventions’ which would cover offences such as banned turns, contraventions in box junctions and driving in cycle lanes.

The new traffic powers are part of a wider nationwide shift away from police enforcement that is being prepared by the Government.