Coppergate access fines refund process explained

Coppergate - Time to move on

Coppergate – Time to move on

Following approval by councillors on 30 July, City of York Council has opened the application process for the repayment of Penalty Charge Notices in relation to the traffic regulation of Coppergate.

The application process will close on midnight on 31 March 2016.

An application must be made before midnight on 31 March 2016 in order for this to be considered for repayment. The deadline for Lendal Bridge applications has also been extended  until 31 March 2016.All applications must be made online via , although support will be provided for anyone who doesn’t have access to the internet.Full FAQs detailing the repayment process can be found on this webpage, or below.

Drivers are asked to read these FAQs relating to the repayment process before submitting their application.  (more…)

Coppergate fines to be repaid

Ann Reid

Cllr Ann Reid

A report to York’s Executive next week will recommend repaying nearly 13,000 motorists fined for using Coppergate.

Last month, the leaders of York’s new Conservative-Liberal Democrat Executive said they wanted to repay the motorists caught by ANPR cameras driving down the street outside permitted hoursin late 2013 and early 2014. They said it would help repair York’s reputation following Labour’s botched Lendal Bridge trial.

Labour lost its appeal in April against a ruling which said that the council had no power to issue fines to drivers using Coppergate and Lendal Bridge during trial traffic bans. The council has the right to appeal the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s decision, but if next week’s report is approved this legal challenge will be dropped and a repayment process, similar to the one used for Lendal Bridge, will be put in place.

The full value of Coppergate fines totals £387,000 and were included in the earmarked reserves in the council’s accounts in 2014/15. Refunds will be funded from the reserve with a deadline for submitting claims of 31 March 2016. At the same meeting, Executive will be asked to approve a new deadline for submitting claims for the Lendal Bridge Repayment Scheme and to extend this from 31 December 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Officers will also be asked to review options for the future of the Coppergate scheme, including revising existing signage. This could result in changing the road markings, the surface of the road and/or interventions that may provide more effective traffic solutions in this area.

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, said:

“It is right that we repay these fines and rule out a legal challenge. This will help draw line under the issues and begin to repair the damage done to York’s reputation by Labour. This will allow us to focus our efforts on getting the Coppergate restrictions right as part of a wider effort to tackling congestion in York.”

York’s Executive will take a final decision next Thursday (25th June) at West Offices from 5.30pm.

28,153 drivers apply for Lendal Bridge refunds

Only 3 from non UK residents

The York Council has responded to a Freedom of Information request about the progress made in offering refunds to drivers who were fined for driving over Lendal Bridge.

Sight seeing bus on Lendal Bridge

The Council decided, after pressure for opposition parties, to write to all affected drivers telling them of the process for claiming refunds.

The refunds were offered after the traffic adjudicator ruled in 2014 that the Council had acted unlawfully.

The Council has now confirmed that 27,181 letters were sent to drivers on 13th February.

In total 28,153 applications for refunds have been made although this figure does include some duplicates.

Since the decision to send out the letters a total of £334,921 has been refunded.

The Council has broken down into the postcode of the applicant the refund applications which have so far been successful

  • YO postcodes account for 3,506
  • The rest of the UK 15,782
  • Only 3 appear to have originated outside the UK

Taking into account the refunds made last year, a total of £689,531 has so far been refunded.

At the March 2014 Council meeting the Cllr Merrett, who then was responsible for the trial closures on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate, admitted that over £2 million had been raised in fine income.

With the Council now having been judged to have acted unlawfully on Coppergate as well as Lendal Bridge, it seems likely that further tranche of letters will shortly be going out advising more drivers of their right to a refund.

Commenting former Council Leader Steve Galloway, who submitted the Freedom on of Information request, said,

 “Clearly many thousands of drivers did not know about their right to a refund.

Opposition Councillors have been vindicated for their decision to ask that all drivers be notified by letter of the refund process.

It is unfortunate that so few foreign visitors have responded to the letter. This rather suggests that the reputational cost of this project failure may be with us for several more years

I hope that the Council will act quickly to refund fines levied on Coppergate and will be more circumspect in future when rolling out new technology like ANPR cameras

York Council loses Coppergate fines appeal

Another £400,000 to be paid out to fined motoristsCamera

The traffic adjudicator has rejected the York Councils appeal over fines issued for breaches of the  Coppergate access restrictions.

It means that drivers who were caught and fined during the trial period (August 2013 – March 2014) on the route will be entitled to have the fines repaid.

It also puts paid to any idea that the Council may have of switching its spy cameras back on.

The Council may have a right of appeal to the High Court over the ruling but it seems unlikely that the new Councillors, who are due to be elected on 7th May, will pursue that costly option.

In total over £2 million was unlawfully taken  by the York Council in fines on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.

Even when it was clear (after only 6 weeks) that the trial had gone badly wrong and should therefore be suspended, prominent Labour Councillor Dave Merrett refused to suspend the restrictions.

His chances of re-election on 7th May must now be fading along with the hopes of other Labour Cabinet members who also failed to act to end the scandal.

Both major opposition parties have promised a full public inquiry into the circumstances which led the Council to act unlawfully. Labour declined to hold such an inquiry when they were in office, with Green Councillors also voting against a probe for the truth.


Coppergate Fines – No decision until after the elections

Voters will go to the polls on May 7th still not knowing whether nearly £400,000 was collected by the York Council unlawfully.

The Council have appealed against a ruling by the traffic adjudicator that fines levied using ANPR cameras on Coppergate in 2013 and 2014 were unlawful.

Coppergate bus lane enforcement plans  June 2013

Coppergate bus lane enforcement plans June 2013

The Council accepted last year that similar enforcement tactics used during the Lendal Bridge trial closure were flawed. Refunds totalling over £1 million are owed to affected motorists.

The Council has been asked to provide an updated statement indicating how many drivers have responded to the claim letters which opposition Councillors forced the authority to issue to Lendal Bridge motorists in January.

On Coppergate the problems arose when the operating hours of long standing traffic restrictions were extended during the morning and early evening periods. For the first time in York, cameras were used to enforce a ban. The adjudicator ruled the scheme unlawful because the signs were inadequate.  

The ANPR cameras were switched off a year ago when an appeal against the ruling was lodged by the Council.

 It has taken over 12 months for the appeal to be considered with speculation mounting that the ruling will be sustained and that the new Council will be left to pick up the financial pieces of a mistake which has had calamitous consequences for both drivers and taxpayers.

Labour Councillor Dave Merrett was widely held responsible for the blunder although it effectively ended the York political career of former Council Leader James Alexander.

York Council receives £1.85 million in bus lane fines

A Freedom of information response has revealed that the York Council has received £1.85 million in fines income from motorists misusing “bus lanes”.Camera

Most of the income was generated on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate.

The enforcement cameras have since been switched off at both locations and the Council is engaged in the costly exercise of writing, to all who were fined on Lendal Bridge, offering a refund. (A further FOI request for a progress report on the numbers responding is due at the end of the month).

The Council has not yet refunded fines imposed on Coppergate but instead submitted an appeal against a traffic adjudicator’s judgement that the fines were unlawful.

The appeal process has been dragging on for over a year now.

£1.85 million in fines

Lendal Bridge fine refund letters being sent out now

Nearly 12 months after the unlawful Lendal Bridge trial closure resulted in over £1 million in fines being levied, motorists will now be told they can have their money back.

Lendal bridge without traffic

Lendal bridge without traffic

Anyone who received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCNs) in relation to Lendal Bridge and has not yet completed the online repayment process is being sent a letter to inform them of the refund.

The decision was forced on the Council when Labour lost their majority in the autumn. The Council is in the process of writing to 27,000 people who have not currently claimed their PCN repayment.

Letters have been sent to their last known address and are expected to be fully distributed in the coming weeks.
They include information on the refund process as well as notifying them that the deadline of the online process for Lendal Bridge repayments has been extended to 31 December 2015.

If the PCN was issued directly to the registered keeper of the vehicle then they will be able to complete the online refund process. If a company or hire company paid the penalty charge and then sought reimbursement from the person, or passed it to them for payment, they will need to speak to their employer or vehicle hire company as they will need to make complete the online refund process.

For more information about Lendal Bridge repayments, including full FAQs and background information

The council will assist anyone in person in the council’s West Offices or over the phone (01904 551550) to help them through the process if they have no access to the internet.#




A final decision on the legality of the fines levied using cameras on Coppergate is expected within the next few weeks.

The Council has indicated that it intends to switch the ANPR cameras back on if their appeal against the unlawful ruling (which also applied to Coppergate) is upheld.

Labour have budgeted to receive £100,000 from new Coppergate fine income during the forthcoming financial year.

York Council heading for £1.3 million overspend?

A report being considered next week suggests that the York Council could over spend its budget this year by £1.3 million.

Coppergate - York Council failure, to win appeal against unlawful fines issue, could plunge it into a financial crisis

Coppergate – York Council failure, to win appeal against unlawful fines issue, could plunge it into a financial crisis

The – much delayed – half year report does not include any deficit which may arise from outstanding issues on the Coppergate/Lendal bridge fine refund policy.

Other areas of concern identified in the report include

  • Waste There is a forecast overspend of £98k due to lower than budgeted income from commercial waste, £100k shortfall in income from garden waste subscription, £100k due to the forecast shortfall in dividend from Yorwaste and £233k pressure at Household Waste and Recycling Centres primarily due to lower than expected income from charges
  • Car Parking There is a continued shortfall from parking income (£408k) and “ongoing monitoring will be required to assess the impact of the current parking initiatives, including the charges for Minster Badges, the free parking introduced in late June and pay-on-exit at Marygate”.
  • Social Care There is a significant projected overspend of £864k within the Elderly Persons Homes budgets.

A separate report identifies problems with the Councils capital investment programme.

Failure to move ahead with the reuse of the Guildhall means that £350,000 of “critical” repairs will now be needed.

And a major problem is arising with the Councils existing Elderly Persons Homes. These were supposed to have closed by now having been replaced by the new care village at Lowfields. But that project is 3 years behind schedule and the existing buildings will need to be patched up at a cost of £500,000!

The report ominously warns “existing EPH’s are currently in need of renovation, some aspects of which are threatening their ability to pass Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection”.

True economic impact of Lendal bridge fiasco emerging

City centre footfall up 60% compared to last August


The York Council delayed responding to a Freedom of information request until just 5 minutes after a key Lendal Bridge decision was taken yesterday.

After the meeting had concluded it emerged that the effect of the closure on City Centre businesses last year had been more substantial than had previously been revealed.

The Lendal Bridge restrictions were in place from 27th August 2013 to 1st April 2014.

Camera enforcement on Coppergate started on 15th August 2013

During the earlier part of the restriction period footfall – measured by a camera in Parliament Street – showed a significant decline peaking at -12% during September.

The situation improved only during March when a 14% increase was recorded comparing 2014 with 2013.

However, since the camera enforcement was stopped on 1st April 2014, visitor numbers have soared.

    • April 2014 up 29% on previous year
    • May 2014 up 21%
    • June 2014 up 25%
    • July 2015 up 33%
  • Aug (to 25th) up 60%

These figures are far higher than might be accounted for solely by the economic recovery.

Fortunately they do seem to suggest that the City’s reputation has not been permanently damaged.

A failure by the Council to refund all fines which were imposed unlawfully could change that picture.

The failure to provide information in a timely way – and prevent some Councillors from seeing key legal advice on the Lendal Bridge issue – may lead to the York Council Leadership being reported to the Local Government Ombudsman

Government to give extra £1 million to help sort out York’s transport problems

Lendal Bridge recriminations continue

Lendal bridge without traffic

Lendal bridge without traffic

York been awarded a further £1million by the Department for Transport as a dispute about who paid for the Lendal Bridge trial has surfaced.

Refund decision- who decides and when?

None of the Council’s decision making bodies has considered a proposal to repay Lendal Bridge fines. It is merely a proposal to creep out for a “behind closed doors” meeting of the Labour Group. It is a key decision but does not appear in the Councils forward plan. The last time the Council considered the issue Labour Councillors combined to vote down a request for an independent scrutiny review of the failings of, and lessons to be learned from, the Lendal and Coppergate trials.

Now a decision date will have to be set and a report on the methodology – and costs – of setting up a refund system will have to be written and published. The ultimate success of a proposal to repay fines is not in doubt, as both Opposition parties (LibDem and Tory) have previously called for the refunds to be made. There is considerable doubt, though, about when such payments might start and what paperwork vehicle owners may be expected to complete.

How much did it cost and who pays?

The present government allows Local Authorities a large measure of devolution on transport spending priorities and last year the Councils Labour Leadership chose to spend some grant money on access restriction hardware (such as ANPR cameras).

This totalled around £100,000 and is money that has now effectively been lost. The latest grant allocation (see below) was made before the York Council made its announcement about refunding Lendal Bridge fines, so it remains to be seen whether the fiasco will adversely impact on future transport funding allocations for the City.

The vast majority of the costs of the Lendal Bridge and Coppergate schemes were funded by fine income. The detail was reported to the Cabinet earlier in the month Click here for report Para 23 makes it clear that £1.756 million in fine income had been received by the end of March. Administrative costs were £718,000. In the main, those were the costs of enforcement and processing the FPNs. The Council has never revealed how much it was charged by the Peterborough based company that it used to process the fine notifications.

LTP3 – What did it say?

Some commentators are also claiming the the Local Transport Plan (LTP3), submitted to government in 2010 when the Council was LibDem led, somehow prompted the Lendal Bridge access restriction trial. The plan can still be viewed on the Council’s web site click here

The Plan does suggest a trial which would have given public transport priority on Ouse Bridge (not Lendal Bridge) in the medium term (2019). However that was conditional on other network improvements being completed – notably to to the northern by pass and to Park and Ride facilities – in the interim. The Labour Leadership must accept full responsibility for trying to bounce an ill considered Lendal Bridge scheme, onto an unsuspecting public, before even the two new Park and Ride sites had been completed.

£1 million more from Government

We hope that the Council will get back to basics and ensure that there is full public discussion of their plans for the use of this money. They have gone backwards recently with the removal of card payment options at the Maygate car park, travellers can no longer look on the web to see which car parks are full and on street visual display boards are often not working.

Well used sub-urban bus stops still don’t have real time “next bus arriving” screens yet.

All are issues that need addressing before anymore money is squandered on “vanity” projects