The use of CCTV as evidence for issuing parking fines has been deemed unlawful.

The landmark ruling came against Transport for London (TfL).

Adjudicators found that TfL broke Government guidance when fining motorists parked in bays on red routes in the capital. Using CCTV, rather than civil enforcement officers or traffic wardens allows for unfair prosecutions.

Not a precedent

The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced laws to limit the use of CCTV in issuing fines in 2015.

The judgement from London Tribunals on eight appeals against red route fines does not set a legal precedent. However, a spokesman for London Tribunals told the Telegraph other adjudicators “may take previous decisions into consideration before reaching a conclusion”.

Three adjudicators ruled that TfL had acted with “procedural impropriety”.

Human intervention

The latest guidance from the DfT states that “approved devices”, are primarily automatic number plate recognition CCTV cameras. These “are used only where enforcement is difficult or sensitive and enforcement by a Civil Enforcement Officer is not practical”.

Motorists who have parked legally, for example in a loading and unloading bay, may have difficulty proving their case. Contravening rules based on CCTV evidence, they “may find it impossible to obtain the necessary evidence, after the event, to discharge the burden of proving loading/unloading”.

If a motorist parked in one of these bays encounters a traffic warden, they have the opportunity to  prove their innocence. After the event, this becomes very difficult to do.

In the detail

The judgement on ‘Commercial Plant Services and others versus TfL‘ studied the precise language of laws and Government guidance.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We are committed to keeping London moving safely and efficiently, and compliance on the Transport for London road network is essential to achieving these aims.

“Enforcement by our compliance officers using CCTV cameras is an important part of tackling this and we are exploring next steps.

“Non-compliance impacts London’s air quality, creates safety risks, disrupts traffic and creates congestion for everyone.”

It seems that clarification on these points is still required.