THE COUNCIL has raked in almost £2 million in fines from motorists caught by a set of controversial cameras, it can be revealed today.

Almost 100,000 fines have been handed out to drivers snapped by four experimental traffic cameras policing new road measures in Brighton.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request showed that motorists have coughed up a staggering £1.8 million in penalties after being caught at the bus gate.

Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth told The Argus that council should refund the fines and redesign the layout of the junction in Valley Gardens.

He said: “The figures clearly show that it was known from a very early stage that the bus gate design was not working yet the council continues to levy fines.

"An opportunity to stop this unfair situation arose last week at transport committee yet Labour and Green Councillors actively voted for it to continue.

"The junction should be redesigned immediately and fines returned.”

The cameras were introduced following the experimental traffic order in June last year, limiting the roads to buses, taxis and bicycles only.

Figures show much revenue was generated through tickets handed out to motorists caught at Marlborough Place, St Georges Place, St Peters Place and York Place.

The information covers the period of time between January 1 and October 6 - with the camera at York Place making £1 million during this time.

Data obtained by the North Laine Community Association following an FOI request reveals a staggering 74,738 fines issued to drivers in the nine-month period.

While more than 13,000 handed out in August alone.

It comes after it was revealed that the city centre cameras had captured 9,618 motorists last month - around 310 people every day.

The Argus visited the controversial bus gates last week and within minutes, witnessed dozens of unsuspecting motorists breaching the traffic order.

The Argus: Councillor Robert Nemeth Councillor Robert Nemeth

One furious driver said the signage for the cameras, which captured almost 10,000 motorists in October was "very bad" and slammed the scheme as "disgusting".

She said: "I came down here and I saw this thing and I thought, 'uh oh, there is something going on here'.

"As far as I know, Brighton is one of the cities in this country that makes the most money out of fines.

"It is disgusting."

Councillors on the environment transport and sustainability committee agreed to make the project permanent when they meet on Tuesday 16 November.

A council spokesman said: “Our Valley Gardens improvements aim to make traffic flow more smoothly in the city centre, as well as improve things for cyclists, bus users and pedestrians.

“Making sure only buses and taxis use the bus lanes is a key part of these improvements. Bus lanes support quicker, more accessible bus travel around our city, which has high bus use, compared to other places.

“We’re keen that our bus network functions well, as many of our residents rely on a good service.

“The enforcement measures we have introduced have been widely consulted on and publicised.

“All appeals to penalty charge notices are reviewed, and then dealt with independently by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if unsuccessful appeals are taken further.

“The feedback during these further independent reviews is that the council is meeting all the national regulations.

“We also have information about the bus gates on our website, and we can look at promoting this further.

“Bus gates are common elsewhere in the country, and are covered in the highway code.

“It’s important for drivers to be aware of these road regulations, as bus gates exist in other locations in our city too. By driving safely and well, drivers can avoid being penalised.

“These measures are not about making money. They are about keeping traffic flowing and improving the environment, and making it possible for people to travel easily by bus, car or bike.

“All revenues made from the enforcement are invested back into transport improvements and other environmental improvements our city needs.”