COUNTY Hall bosses have pledged to return all fines taken from motorists caught by the notorious bus lane camera at Moor End Road in Hemel Hempstead.
Almost 35,000 tickets have been issued since the camera went live last August but following an appeal the Traffic Penalty Tribunal ruled it unlawful.
The adjudicator ruled the wrong wording was used in the traffic regulation order (TRO) used to enforce the bus lane and the road sign layout was incorrect.
A meeting of Herts County Council’s Conservative-controlled cabinet was told every fined motorist would be able to get their money back, and any unclaimed fines would be given to charity.
Stuart Pile, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our aim has always been to improve public transport generally in the area and reduce congestion and we have seen improvements in public services.
“In this instance we got it wrong in the TRO and I apologise for the error. We have learned lessons and undertake not to make the same mistake again.”
The move could potentially cost taxpayers around £1.26 million because the majority of cash collected by the camera – nearly £1 million – has been paid out to an administration company and there will be further costs in sending out refunds.
County Councillor Nick Hollinghurst, a Liberal Democrat who has persistently questioned the scheme, said afterwards: “It has been an unnecessary waste of public money but I’m pleased they have finally decided to do the decent thing.”
Steve Baker, of campaign group NoToMob, said: “We told them in September they were wrong and they said ‘no’. Well, now we’re right and they’re wrong.”