London council raises £12m in fines from a single yellow box junction in seven years - but experts say it's not drivers who are at fault
- The box junction on Bagley's Lane, Fulham, raked in £2.4m in fines in the last 18 months and £12m since 2010
- The Institute of Highways Engineers said traffic flow is the issue
- It says fines don't show a lack of understanding of the rules
- Box junction at Homerton High Street, Hackney, is the second biggest earner, raising £1.2million in fines
- Berkeley Street junction in Piccadilly is third with £816,000 worth of PCNs
A single council-operated yellow box junction camera in London's Fulham has pocketed a staggering £12million in fines over the last seven years, an investigation revealed.
London councils have been accused of unfairly raking in millions of pounds from motorists who break yellow box junction rules because of the poor traffic flow management in the capital.
Experts at the Institute of Highways Engineers said drivers are suffering at the hands of poorly-placed box junctions.
Money boxes: London councils are pocketing millions of pounds from yellow box junction fines, such as this one in Enfield which featured in a BBC investigation on Monday
In 2015, Transport for London issued £6.5million worth of penalty charge notices (PCN) for infringements in its box junctions. The fines issued by councils who operate their own cameras come on top of that figure.
A recent BBC report uncovered the shockingly high council earnings from yellow box junctions, with a camera situated at the Bagley's Lane turning in Fulham snapping £2.4million worth of fines in the last 18 months - the highest of any box junction in the city.
But despite Hammersmith and Fulham Council claiming there was no issue at the box junction, referred to as the 'Money Box' by locals, the IHE believes the high volume of fines is due to a wider traffic flow issue.
The council told the BBC's Inside Out programme: 'This is one of the busiest routes into London. Seven million drivers navigate the junction each year without breaking the rules and getting a ticket.'
THE BOX JUNCTION RULE
The Highway Code states: 'You must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear.'
The only exception is if you want to turn right, in that instance it allows you to enter the box and wait until there is a break in oncoming traffic to make your turn.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the yellow box junction, first introduced in 1966.
However, Richard Hayes from the IHE disagreed with the council's statement, stating £12m in fines over seven years was not 'ethically right'.
'Something is definitely wrong,' Mr Hayes said.
'Should there be a lot of infringement, then I think there is something wrong with the installation.
'It should be fixed. Yes, we make a lot of money, but it's not working. I'm not sure I feel ethically that is the right way to take things forward.
'The situation isn't the box junction - it's the traffic flow ahead of the box junction that is causing the problem.
'We're very good at installing new installations. We're not very good at reviewing and reflecting on whether those installations are working properly.'
Cars caught stopping in yellow box junctions, like this one on Edgware Road, face £100 fines
This yellow box junction at Bagley's Lane in Fulham has raised £2.4million worth of fines in the last 18 months and £12million over the last seven years
The BBC's investigation found that all but seven London Boroughs have camera-monitoring box junctions.
The box junction at Homerton High Street, in Hackney, is the second biggest earner, raising £1.2million in fines in the last 18 months, while the Berkeley Street junction in Piccadilly is third with £816,000 worth of PCNs issued in the same period.
Andrew Ashe, who has campaigned for better traffic management at Bagley's Lane, said the surrounding road infrastructure actively made the box junction very difficult to avoid entering.
'As the cars are coming through you will see one traffic light which is green, encouraging traffic into the box, and the other one is red, and then they are stuck,' he explained.
'My big concern is that the councils are allowed to keep the money themselves, this means they are motivated not to make improvements, because it's leading to massive abuse.'
The Institute of Highways Engineers has said the issue isn't drivers not understanding the rules concerning yellow box junction but the placement of them in areas with poor traffic flow
In an interview with the BBC programme aired on Monday evening, Steve Burton, director of traffic enforcement at TFL, said the addition of cameras to police road restrictions has proved successful in the past.
'We need to make sure we're using them [cameras] appropriately and not just using them as some sort of cash cow, and we're definitely not,' he said.
'Certainly our experience of bus lanes is that as we put cameras on bus lanes the level of compliance improves dramatically.'
But the installation of cameras is also having an impact on driving behaviour, according the the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
When asked about how motorists act around a box junction, Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the motoring group told the BBC: 'People give way and they flag other people in. But when you put a camera in and the price of flagging someone in and letting them into your space is a ticket, then they stop doing that.'