Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beware the Orange Grids!....

Now we all know that we're not supposed to enter the dreaded orange (or are they yellow?) grids unless we're pretty certain that we won't end up sitting in the middle of it if they traffic is snarled up ahead once the lights change. We all know that don't we? I can see the logic of this in that, obviously, we don't want to block a busy junction. But entering one in London can be very costly indeed so do so at your peril. Coming back from Bloomsbury Book Fair a couple of months back I had to stop very suddenly just inside one such a grid on Southampton Row. I swear that I wasn't causing any sort of a blockage because, really, it was just the front end of my car that was inside the grid. The London Borough of Camden Council didn't quite see it like that though. In fact they slapped me with £130 fine or Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) as they like to call it. They send you a photo of your car in the grid with a freeze frame of the elapsed time as "proof" of your dastardly act. You see they have cameras watching you from every angle at these junctions so that they can catch you out and rake in lots of cash, er, sorry I mean keep the traffic flowing. They like to encourage you to pay up early do Camden Borough Council so they incentivize you by offering to halve the PCN payment if you cough up within seven days. Being a man of principle though I, naturally, felt incensed by this outrage and set about to challenge the notice. I couldn't do it online as their system was down at the time so I elected to send in my challenge to the notice by email, which they duly didn't receive for some reason. This challenge, whilst still ongoing, is likely to result in my fine increasing to £195 all for the heinous "crime" of having my nose in an orange/yellow grid. They also threaten you with sending in bailiffs should you not comply. Someone tells me that just one of these Big Brother controlled junctions generates revenues of over £1 million for one lucky London borough council, and I can well believe it, so there's no wonder they're so ubiquitous. They are an outrage and I cannot see how they can possibly encourage trade or visitors to the capital. They cause nothing but fear and a bad taste in the mouth but it seems, in Camden at least, they are police, judge, jury and indeed executioner. Beware the grids!....

8 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

Moral of tale - don't take your car into Central London. I haven't driven in the capital for nigh on 40 years, and your sorry tale has only reinforced my view that I am right in maintaining this policy.

Government in London from the Mayor's office downwards seem intent on fleecing the private motorist at every available opportunity, as your expereience proves. Don't give them the satisfaction; leave the car at home, as you indeed suggest in your next post.

manofkent said...

Maybe there should be few in Tonbridge. One at Waterloo Road/ Station approach by the station another by Bordyke.

Paul Bailey said...

manofkent, there's one up by the Star & Garer junction, but no-one takes any notice of it. Fining people though is a bit draconian; education is a far better idea.

Tonbridge blogger said...

Tricky to carry, almost literally, a ton of books to a book fair without a car. Even the Green Party would have to give me that one!I suppose I could have hired a horse and cart....

Tonbridge blogger said...

There's very little doubt that this is a racket that councils have latched onto to maximize revenue. They've obviously worked out that the cost of the camera equipment and maintainance is far less than revenue in "fines" they can generate. Trouble is they never think of the long term effect of all this. Bit like over zealous parking attendants at the Angel Centre. It leaves a very bad taste in the mouth especially since they make it very difficult for you to appeal against the decision. As I said they act as police, judge, jury and executioner and pretty much what they decide goes. It all pongs worse than that air which drifts over Tonbridge from the industrial estate....

Paul Bailey said...

Point taken about all those books you had to cart about, TB. I do question though, the legality of what these London councils are doing. It smacks of entrapment to me. I'm not for one minute suggesting that you take this on, but someone, preferably an organisation representing motorists such as the AA or RAC, needs to mount a legal challenge to this unwarranted persecution of car drivers.

Like I said earlier, I never take my car into central London - it's too easy to get caught by the congestion charge, extortionate parking fees, oh and park in the wrong spot (not always immediately apparent), and you're likely to get your vehicle towed away and impounded. You will then be charged a hefty fee for its return. Extortion, daylight robbery and a shameful example of "Rip-off Britain"!

Outraged said...

Surely two freeze frames of your stationary car is not sufficient evidence? The "offence" is committed when you enter the box. You must not enter the box if your exit is blocked by stationary traffic (except whe you are turning right). Thus various photos would be needed to prove the offence, typically, one of your car entering the box, while at the same moment photos to prove the vehicle in front was stationary!

Don't worry about the two boxes in Tonbridge, neither meet the very strict requirement for this type of road marking.

Outraged said...
This comment has been removed by the author.