Portsmouth steps up school zig-zag lines clampdown with new CCTV cameras

Portsmouth City Council staff Matt Crowder and Ian Maund with one of the new CCTV camera units 'to be installed outside Meredith Infant School 'Picture:  Malcolm Wells (180212-6112)
Portsmouth City Council staff Matt Crowder and Ian Maund with one of the new CCTV camera units 'to be installed outside Meredith Infant School 'Picture: Malcolm Wells (180212-6112)

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PARENTS flouting parking rules outside city schools are the target of a new safety campaign.

Portsmouth City Council is installing five new cameras at schools in a bid to stop drivers parking on zig-zag lines.

City officials say the practise is needlessly endangering the lives of schoolchildren every day.

Yet, despite the threat of a substantial fine, the message is still not getting through to some parents, says the council’s traffic boss, Councillor Simon Bosher.

He said: ‘This is deeply disappointing. A school should be a learning environment, a safe haven for children, and so it should be coming in and out of school.

‘Parents seem to forget that it’s their own neighbour’s children in a lot of cases that they are actually endangering by some of the dangerous driving that we get around schools.’

The council has a total of seven redeployable cameras that are being used in the scheme. Two are already in operation around schools.

As of next week, the schools that will be equipped with the tech will include: Isambard Brunel Junior School, Meon Junior School, College Park Infant School, Meredith Infant School, Northern Parade Infant School, Bramble Infant School and Court Lane Infant School.

They are operated on a term-by-term rotational basis and cover 30 high-priority school sites, the council said.

Cameras automatically capture vehicles parking on the lines during the operational period, stated on a near-by sign. The footage is then checked before a fine is issued.

Solent Junior School was one of the first sites to receive a camera. During the three months it was in action, parking offences dropped by 98 per cent.

Sarah Haydon, Solent’s headteacher, said: ‘Road safety is something that we are continually looking to improve working with our children, parents, governors and Portsmouth’s road safety team.

‘As one of the first schools in Portsmouth to have a school enforcement camera installed, we noticed that cars very quickly stopped parking on the zig-zags outside the school.’

In addition, Portsdown Infant School, the second school to take part in the trial, saw an 80 per cent reduction in penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued.

Cllr Bosher added the aim was not about fining parents but changing behaviours and improving safety.

The penalty for stopping on zig-zags is £70, discounted to £35 if paid within 21 days.