1,700 Derby drivers caught out and fined for breaking new traffic rule

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More than 1,700 drivers fined for breaking new traffic rules outside Derby school

Derby City Council says a controversial new highways rule outside a Derby school is working despite more than 1,700 motorists being fined for breaching it.

A School Safe Haven Zone has been in place around St John Fisher Primary School in Alvaston since February last year following concerns about road safety in the area. Zones have been implemented around other Derby schools too in what the council describes as the “most comprehensive attempt” it has made to try to resolve long-standing problems associated with school travel.

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New school parking rules have come into force at Alvaston Street, DerbyNew school parking rules have come into force at Alvaston Street, Derby
New school parking rules have come into force at Alvaston Street, Derby

The new zone means that a section of the main road next to the primary school – Alvaston Street (between the junctions of Old Hall Lane and Grimshaw Avenue) – is closed for motorists at school run times both in the morning and in the afternoon (8.30am until 9am and 2.30pm until 3.30pm). The closure of the road and stopping traffic flow allow a safer way for children and parents to enter and leave the school during peak times.

However, a response to a Freedom of Information request submitted to the city council has revealed that 1,744 drivers have been issued with PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) since the new rule was enforced on Alvaston Street alone. But the authority says this figure “shows an improvement in the number of drivers adhering to the restrictions”.

In May last year the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) reported how traffic enforcement cameras were to be introduced outside Derby schools with designated safe haven zones, including St John Fisher Primary School, after a high number of drivers were caught ignoring the rules.

The scheme at St John Fisher Primary School has been controversial from the word go. Grimshaw Avenue resident Sam Bull feared the council were just “moving the goalposts” of the road safety problem in the area and told the LDRS he feared motorists as a result would repeatedly use his cul-de-sac street for parking and turning around.

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If each of the 1,744 PCNs was paid within an allotted time and therefore reduced to half price (£35), the council would have made more than £61,000 in income from the new rule. The city council says Derby is “leading the way” with its School Safe Haven Zone projects and a decision on whether to make the rule permanent on Alvaston Street will be made in the near future.

A spokesperson for Derby City Council said: “We’re pleased that the period of issuing warning notices has had a positive effect on driver behaviour, with the majority of drivers not breaching the restrictions for a second time. The number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) being issued at this location shows an improvement in the number of drivers adhering to the restrictions.

“Reducing the number of vehicles around schools does not just increase safety, but also improves air quality and reduces pollution, providing health benefits to residents and students. Derby is leading the way with their School Safe Haven Zones, attracting national attention and being praised by the Department for Transport upon a recent visit to Derby. Responses to the public consultation are currently being reviewed and a decision about the future of the St John Fisher School Safe Haven Zone will be made soon. Should a driver receive a Penalty Charge Notice and feel it to be unfair, they can make an appeal and the council will take into account the individual circumstances.”

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