Motorists who illegally drove through an 800m-long Hackney low traffic zone were issued fines totalling £4 million during an 18-month period.

A freedom of information request to Hackney Council revealed that thousands of penalty charge notices of £65 were handed out to those illegally passing through Lansdowne Drive eastbound or westbound from February 3, 2020 to August 2 this year.

The council introduced the penalty charge notices from February 3, 2020 to tackle rat running in the area and improve air quality at peak times. The low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) is part of efforts to reduce pollution, that also include a similar scheme in Church Street, Stoke Newington, and the fitting of 110 cycling filters.

St Albans resident Bernard Gorman submitted an FOI request after being directed to the area, with which he is unfamiliar, by his satnav at the end of June. He fell foul of the westbound road restrictions, which prohibit cars from 7-10am and 3-7pm from Monday to Saturday.

Mr Gorman said: “These numbers and associated revenue are eye watering – and even more so, given that the period was during the pandemic lockdown.

“The figures clearly show that something is fundamentally wrong. The system is not working if Hackney Council is needing to give this many fines.”

Over the 18 months, 75,508 charges were handed out for Lansdowne Drive offences. The notices totalled £2,437,813.97 for westbound offences and £1,684,921.49 for eastbound offences.

Mr Gorman added: “How can these number of penalty charges issued be helping to improve air quality and reduce emissions within the London Fields area?"

He added: “It’s scandalous that councils are allowed to introduce these traps under the guise of improving road safety and reducing car use.”

The council said drivers are given warnings and that every penny generated pays for blue badges or is reinvested in transport schemes in the borough.

Cllr Mete Coban, cabinet member for transport, said: “More than 80pc of fines issued at Lansdowne Drive were issued to drivers whose vehicles are registered outside of Hackney, which highlights how many people from outside the borough are using our residential streets as a short-cut.

“Bus gates like these and low traffic neighbourhoods are important because they discourage through-traffic from using neighbourhood streets – where there are fewer pedestrian crossings and roads are less able to handle high volumes of traffic – and encourage people to switch local car journeys for walking and cycling.”