'No Plans For Bus Lane Fine Refunds'

7 September 2011, 11:15 | Updated: 7 September 2011, 11:26

Heart's been told there are no plans to refund 10,000 drivers fined for using a bus lane in the first month of an enforcement operation.

That's despite calls from the government's Transport Minister that they should all get their £60 fines back.

Mike Penning - who's also the MP for Hemel Hempstead - thinks the signs warning people they could be fined for straying into the bus lane on the town's Moor End Road, are too small.

"People have said to me that it's the first time in their life they've ever had any fine of any description," he said.  "What I've asked is for these people to appeal and for those appeals to be looked at as leniently as possible."

"Ignorance in the eyes of the law has never been a defence but some of the signage is clearly wrong.

"The thing to do surely is suspend any enforcement against people while they sort this out. They're going to have to see sense and address this.

"Having a bus lane is not an issue as long as people know it's a bus lane. It's not for me to dictate if it's a bus lane there, but it has to be signed right and it has to be morally right."

He has written to Caroline Tapster, chief executive of Herts County Council, asking her to suspend enforcement action and refund any fines already doled out.

But Hertfordshire County Council say the signs conform to guidelines set out by the minister's own department.

Special cameras that can recognise number plates were installed in August 2011 to catch drivers who block Moor End Road's bus lane, leading to big problems for buses and other traffic.

The £60 fines handed out are reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.