No right turn in Barking costing motorists �200,000

The council has issued almost �200,000 in fines in two years to motorists turning right at a Barking junction with “wholly inadequate” signage.

The authority handed out a total of 3,222 fines at �60 a time to people turning from Northern Relief Road into Wakering Road between April 2010 and March this year, a Freedom of Information request submitted by motorist Lee Whitfield revealed.

A sign around 50 metres before the junction informs motorists that turning right is illegal, but the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS), ruled on at least two occasions that the sign is too far from the junction.

Mr Whitfield was fined after carrying out the manoeuvre in November and appealed against the decision because he believed the sign was not clear enough.

Barking and Dagenham Council rejected his appeal but PATAS ruled in his favour and the fine was quashed. The adjudicator described the signage at the junction as “wholly inadequate”.

In January the Post reported that motorist Mark Robinson, 36, also won a PATAS appeal against a fine for turning right into Wakering Road.

At his hearing the adjudicator said the no right turn sign was “poorly and peculiarly sited” and did not follow the Traffic Signs Manual, which recommends a prohibited turn sign “is always sited immediately before a junction on the left hand side.”

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Mr Whitfield, of Rockswell Road, Barking, said he made the FOI request after noticing that a council Smart car was parked near the Wakering Road junction on a regular basis.

“It was there almost every day and as the signage is so confusing I imagined a lot of other people had been fined,” the 45-year-old explained.

“But I was shocked to find out that the number was in the thousands. The council has made a huge amount of money from this, which is completely wrong considering PATAS has ruled that the signs are inadequate.” The electrician called for the council to pay back the fines motorists have paid out.

Barking and Dagenham Council, which has said it will not refund historic fines, suspended enforcement of the no right turn in January while it considered whether the markings should be changed.

The suspension is still in place, but this week a council spokesman told the Post the authority does not accept the PATAS rulings.

He added: “Following advice from the police we are in the process of putting forward a representation to PATAS which supports this view. Until that process is concluded we will be unable to comment further.”