PARENTS who drive their children to school in Thurrock are being warned that the council will be making extra efforts to ensure they park safely.
Last month public protection portfolio holder Cllr Angie Gaywood, launched Thurrock’s CCTV car and as the schools return after the Easter break, she is keen to remind people about the vehicle.
“The main aim of the vehicle is to improve safety,” she said, “and that’s why we are promoting its use as often as possible.
“We don’t want local people to be fined; we want all local people to be safe.”
Cllr Gaywood said: “The council’s work with schools, the police and others on road safety education, training and publicity has already had a positive impact on the way children travel to school.
“It has achieved a year-on-year reduction in the percentage of car-based trips to school. It’s now less than a quarter while the percentage of children walking to school has gone up to 59.1 per cent.
“However, although a minority of school trips are made by car, there still remains a widespread problem of inconsiderate and dangerous parking near school entrances, particularly the primary schools.
“This places schoolchildren and other road users at risk.”
Cllr Simon Wootton, shadow portfolio holder for public protection, added: “It’s only fair that people are warned as much as possible, but we have to do all we can to make the roads as safe as possible for children.
“Hopefully nobody will be parking illegally or dangerously, but if they are this six-month scheme should bring them up short.”
Cllr Gaywood said: “These problems are difficult for foot patrols to counter, as the driver is usually with the vehicle and can drive away before any penalty charge notice is attached or handed to the driver.
“Because of this, the council has launched its six-month trial of a CCTV enforcement vehicle.
“By using the vehicle, the penalty charge notices will be served by post to the owners of vehicles found contravening parking restrictions – backed up by video evidence.
“Based on experience from other councils, it is expected the increased level of enforcement will help increase compliance of parking restrictions and improve road safety.”
Throughout the trial, the vehicle’s effectiveness will be monitored so an informed decision about the future of mobile enforcement in the borough can be made.
There, we got all the way through the story and never called it a “Spy Car”.