COUNTY Hall bosses are telling motorists nabbed by the Moor End Road camera to sit tight until they receive a letter.
Every driver fined for using the bus lane will be sent a letter ‘over the next couple of months’ containing arrangements for a refund.
Rob Smith, assistant director for transport management at Herts County Council, said: “Those who have received penalty charge notices and have not paid the charge do not have to pay. No further penalty notices will be issued until the current arrangements have been rectified.
“Our legal advice is that we are not legally obliged to repay those who have already paid penalty charges. However, we feel strongly that there is a difference between our legal and moral obligations and the council’s cabinet has decided to offer to pay back the fines to all drivers who have paid.
“Over the next couple of months, we will write to those affected to make arrangements for a refund. Please don’t contact us until you receive your letter, as we need some time to put in place repayment arrangements and we won’t be able to give you any details at this stage.
“Cabinet has also decided that if after a reasonable and clearly defined period, to be confirmed in writing, we do not receive a response we would like to donate the remaining payments to charity. We would also like to give the opportunity to those who do reply to donate their refund to the same charity. This should not only support charity, but also reduce the bank charges involved in making a large number of small repayments.”
He added: “In the meantime we appeal to drivers to use the main road rather than the bus lane so we don’t return to a situation where bus services are at risk of being cancelled.”
Almost 35,000 fines have been issued since the camera went live last August and it could potentially cost £1.26 million of taxpayers’ cash to refund them all after the Traffic Penalty Tribunal ruled the scheme unlawful.
County Councillor Stuart Pile, cabinet member for highways and transport, speaking on BBC Three Counties Radio, called on motorists to ‘look at your conscience’ before claiming refunds.
“Did you realise it was illegal? Why did most of them pay the fine?” he said.
“We recognise that we have a moral obligation here to give the money back. What I say to people is this: do you really want us to pay even more to you processing 35,000 thirty quid cheques or not? Would it be better to give that money now to a worthwhile cause, and that’s what we are suggesting.”