Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Newham Seeks To Make Olympic ANPR Surveillance Permanent

There seems to be a fair amount of confusion and rumour about the exact impact of this summer’s Olympics on restrictions of movement, access, parking and surveillance of residents and businesses in Newham.

Due to a lack of clear and accessible information, I’ve therefore tried to gather together whatever detail I can find, although the problem is that the London 2012 “Local access and parking plans” web page is rather sketchy and the council’s “Games time access and parking plans” is little better. However, reports submitted to Newham’s Cabinet meeting in October 2011 and to this Thursday’s meeting shed more light on what we can expect. What they confirm is this:

Across Newham

The existing 18 Residential Parking Zones (RPZs) will be extended into one giant zone to cover the whole of the borough during the Olympics (not just 1.5 miles from venues as originally proposed), with parking restrictions covering every street from 8am to 9pm.

The council will use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) surveillance to monitor whether vehicles are owned by residents. It will operate its own enforcement database with information provided by the DVLA on every vehicle registered to addresses in Newham. These vehicles will have an automatic right to park.

Vehicles not registered to an address in Newham will need permission to park and need to apply for inclusion on the database. This includes businesses and service providers needing vehicular access to the area. Residents will be required to register any visitor’s vehicle online or by phone when the visitor arrives and will be offered up to 40 “games time only” all day visitor vouchers, at a subsidised cost of £1 per day. Applications are likely to be limited to those residents registered on the electoral roll. Non-resident/business visitors and commuters will be prohibited from parking in the borough during the Games.

LOCOG-provided ANPR vehicles will provide “real time” information on cars and vans that are not on the database and Newham has contracted Mouchel Ltd to enforce parking restrictions, including vehicle removal (it’s a timely contact for the company, who in December announced annual losses of £65m). Mouchel will employ a team of 18 mobile Civil Enforcement Officers (on mopeds) and 33 Parking Marshals. Enforcement is likely to be stringent and there are plans for a back-up system if the technology fails.

Newham is lobbying to increase the penalty charge to £200 on the entire borough’s roads, bring it in line with the charge for the Olympic Route Network (see below).

This is the alarming legacy issue: the council papers for Thursday’s Cabinet [PDF] say that LOCOG has indicated that after the Olympics are over, “they would be willing to negotiate with Newham regarding the sale of their ANPR vehicles”. Moreover, whilst the DVLA have said that supplying vehicle registration for the Games is a one-off, “Newham and other London Authorities will continue to lobby to have direct access to the DVLA data base to assist with improved efficiencies in administering parking permits to Newham residents and businesses”. The report adds:

Notwithstanding direct access to the DVLA data base it is the intention of Newham to roll out its own virtual permit system as a way of reducing administration costs and providing a more accessible service to all residents and businesses. ANPR would be used to automatically recognise vehicles parked without a valid permit which in turn will improve parking enforcement and enable Newham to have a much more proactive enforcement regime with regards to identifying persistent evaders.

Olympic surveillance using ANPR is to become a permanent feature, in other words.

The Olympic Route Network

In Newham, the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Paralympic Route Network (PRN) will primarily affect residents in Stratford, Canning Town and Custom House. The roads affected are:
It will mean changes to traffic signal timings, restricted turns, side road closures to general traffic, bus diversions and the suspension of parking, waiting bays and some pedestrian crossings. In addition, around a third (35 miles of the ORN in London) of the ORN/PRN will include temporary Games Lanes that are only accessible to the 4000 BMW cars for VIPs and a fleet of 1500 coaches for athletes, games officials and the media. Enforcement will operate between 6am and midnight, seven days a week from 25 July to 14 August for the Olympics and from 27 August to 11 September for the Paralympics. The fixed penalty charge will be £200.

Not all the details of local restrictions or the ORN/PRN arrangements have been finalised. I’ll write more when I hear about it – and if anyone has any extra information they’d like to share, please let me know.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Newham Council will be from the 01st Feb being 'buying in'60 police officers. They will be under the control/direction of the mayor/ council.

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