DISREGARDING road marking guidance has allowed Barnet Council to claim up to £680,000 in fines over seven months.

The short stretch of road along West Hendon Broadway contains a section of bus lanes which have significantly fewer marked white lines than is advised by the Department for Transport (DFT).

Although not a legal obligation, the guidelines in the Traffic Signs Manuel suggest that the broken taper line, which angles from the kerb to the start of the solid bus lane marking, should be 30 metres.

A document recording the distance of the taper just past the junction with Cool Oak Lane, which has been seen by the Times-Series, states the distance between the start and end line is just 14.1 metres, less than half the recommended distance.

The measurements were made by the council's own planning team during a site visit earlier this year.

Advisory information from the DFT says authorities should not use parking control notices (PCN) when traffic signs or road markings “are incorrect, missing or not in accordance with the Traffic Regulation Order”.

Further to that, clause 8.35 of the Statutory Operational Guidance states: “An enforcement authority maybe acting unlawfully and may damage its reputation if it continues to issue PCNs that it knows to be unenforceable.”

A freedom of information request revealed the number of PCNs issued along West Hendon Broadway for the contravention of being in a bus lane was 5,705 between January 1 and July 31 this year.

Only two have been cancelled, and with the maximum fine for driving in a bus lane being set at £120, the council may have collected up to £684,600 from motorists.

Leonard Ormonde, managing director of M&N Insurance Services Ltd, in Hendon Way, was caught on CCTV in February last year trying to move out of the bus lane following a short taper past the junction of Stanley Road.

He submitted an appeal to the council outlining his objections, which included questions over the signage and the short distance available to get into the bus lane.

Mr Ormonde also claims that a former employee of the council, who looked at his case, was told to let it “time out” meaning the council would not press ahead with the fine and would not be liable to respond to his assertions that the markings breached recommended guidelines.

He said: “Here is an authority that knows something is wrong and they are doing nothing but deceiving the public.

“They waited until the time out situation so they didn't have to come out with a response. It's disgusting. They didn't want to open up a can of worms.”

The council claims the 14.1 metre taper road markings were extended to 30 metres on November 13 following a review of the design as part of a congestion reduction scheme.

A statement said: “Legal requirements do not give a minimum length for bus lane entry markings, however additional guidance details a preferred bus lane length where road conditions such as side roads and junctions allow.

“All legal requirements as to the bus lane’s layout including signage and road markings, are of course met.”