PARKING bosses in York say they are examining new rules closely, after the Government announced it was banning the controversial widespread use of the city's camera car.

The CCTV car in York was launched to crack down on irresponsible parking near schools, but came under fire when it was found to have been used to tackle other motorists nowhere near schools. Local traders claimed the vehicle's driver was "lying in wait" and issuing fines for offences which lasted as little as a minute.

Following three months of nationwide consultation, the Government said nine million parking fines were issued every year by "over-zealous" English councils.

On Saturday it announced that while authorities will still be able to use the cameras near schools, bus lanes and bus stops, traffic wardens will now have to be used to fix penalty notices to windscreens.

The changes were announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who said the vehicles were a "clear abuse of CCTV".

Councillor Janet Looker, City of York Council's cabinet member for education, children and young people, said the council had introduced the CCTV vehicle after calls from all parties.

She said: "Use of the camera car to improve safety outside schools was recommended by a cross-party scrutiny review. We listened to these calls and acted. As the school-run obviously covers a limited part of the day, to make the scheme viable the car has been used to also enforce the law in other areas. This is exactly what councils like Tory-led Bournemouth and Lib Dem-led Bath have done.

"We find it odd that the Conservative-Lib Dem Government says this is an acceptable way to enforce the law outside schools but not an acceptable way to enforce the law elsewhere, and will be looking at these new regulations closely to establish whether we are still able to use the car to respond to residents' concerns about inconsiderate and dangerous parking."

Mr Pickles said: "Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long term.

"CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls."