‘Cash cow’ yellow box junction made London council up to £1m last year

The yellow box at the junction of Croydon Road and Langley Road in Elmers End, Bromley (Google)
The yellow box at the junction of Croydon Road and Langley Road in Elmers End, Bromley (Google)

A single yellow box junction in south London made the local council up to £1 million last year.

The junction, located between Croydon Road and Langley Road in Elmers End, saw some 8,118 fines issued by Bromley Council in 2022.

Each fine was for a maximum of £130, meaning that a total of £1,055,340 could have been made by the Conservative-run authority.

The charge is halved if the fine is paid in two weeks, but even if every single one was reduced by 50 per cent, that would still have made the authority £527,670.

In total, the council made £2.59 million last year by fining drivers for stopping in yellow box junctions across Bromley, with a local councillor claiming the authority sees motorists as a “cash cow”. The council’s leader said his administation was not “intent on fleecing the motoring public”.

Over 70 per cent of the fines - some 18,225 of them - were attributed to just five junctions, a Freedom of Information request by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) revealed.

The council issued 25,425 fines to drivers breaking the rule across the borough in 2022. The number is over ten times more than it was in 2021, when 2,427 fines were issued. The single highest number of fines came from the Croydon Road/Langley Road intersection.

Labour councillor Jeremy Adams, who represents the Clock House ward, said: “The LDRS’s research highlights how Bromley Council is using Elmers End junction as a stealth tax on motorists - with signposting invisible to oncoming motorists, behind a bus stop.

“The Conservatives claim to be on the side of motorists - but this obscene volume of fines from just one camera shows they see motorists as a cash cow."

Colin Smith, the Leader of Bromley Council, told the LDRS: “There are 32 Boroughs in London; 21 Labour controlled, six Conservative controlled, three Liberal Democrats, one Independent and one with No Overall Control. Every single one of them has adopted the same power, with Bromley being the 32nd and very last to do so [in September 2021].

“Bromley is also one of only four Conservative boroughs to legally challenge the Labour Mayor [Sadiq] Khan’s outrageous Ulez tax of £12.50 a day. Neither are the actions of a council intent on fleecing the motoring public I would suggest.”

Drivers wishing to challenge the charge also had difficulties. Data from the council showed that of the 5,100 fines that drivers opposed, only 1,775 were scrapped.

Following the top spot, 3,229 fines were issued to drivers at the junction on Bromley Road at Shortlands station. The junction between the High Street and the police station beside Bromley South station was next on the list, with 3,050 charges.

The final two spots can be found on Crofton Road at Orpington station and Cray Avenue and Cray Valley junction in St Mary Cray, amounting to 2,072 and 1,786 fines respectively.

Nicholas Bennett, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways & Road Safety, told the LDRS: “The council has no wish to issue any penalty charge notices, with Bromley being the last borough in London to take over this responsibility from the police.

“When enforcement commenced just 18 months ago, this was publicised, with information also being published on the council’s website and the various rules outlined in the Highway Code.”

Mr Bennett said the scheme was enforced to hopefully bring the overall number of fines down, and generally help to reduce congestion and road safety in the borough.

Regarding the junction on Langley Road, he added: “Although the boxes are properly signed, following the moving of the bus stop further away from the junction I have approved the installation of an additional sign behind where the buses stop.

“There are costs associated with this work but as with parking, any surplus income actually directly supports transport-related work.”

The top five yellow box junctions for parking fines in Bromley in 2022:

  • Croydon Road and Langley Road - 8,118 fines

  • Bromley Road and Shortlands Road - 3,229 fines

  • High Street and Police Station in Bromley South - 3,050 fines

  • Crofton Road and Approach Road - 2,072 fines

  • Cray Avenue and Cray Valley - 1,786 fines