COUNCILLORS voted unanimously to adopt legal measures to put an end to car meets and boy racers using Pitsea flyover as a ‘racetrack’ and making residents’ lives a nightmare.

Last night, Basildon Council’s Enforcement and Public Order committee unanimously voted in favour of employing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to tackle the ‘decade-long’ issue.

The PSPO, which is still under development, is expected to be ready before the end of the year. It will grant council officers legal powers to issue fines to ‘nuisance drivers’ – failure to comply with PSPO prohibitions is a criminal offence.

First time offenders will be issued a warning and repeat offenders will be slapped with a £100 fine.

Punishable behaviours include: causing danger to road users by speeding or racing; risk of damage to property; performing stunts such as doughnuts and drifting’ sounding horns or playing loud music; and loud revving of engines.

Council leader Andrew Baggot, who has previously said boy racers had been treating the flyover ‘like a racetrack’ for ‘decades’, told councillors the PSPO would only target those causing trouble.

“What we are saying to people is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going and enjoying the things you enjoy, but when your process of enjoying it is actually becoming a nuisance then that is when we have to step in,” he said.

Cllr Melissa McGeorge added: “This was me 20 years ago, not the ones revving and playing loud music, but one of the quiet ones who would just park up. What we need to make sure is that the people who are doing this for a good cause, do still have an option to go somewhere.”

Cllr Kevin Blake agreed, saying: "We must remember there are a lot of car enthusiasts in our area who enjoy their vehicles responsibly."

Introduced in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, PSPOs are designed to help local authorities target specific instances of anti-social behaviour in certain areas.

Questions were raised at the meeting over what would happen if the boy racers moved their meets to another area in south Essex as a result of the PSPO.

“Where everyone is going to move, and as stated in the report they will likely relocate, when the PSPO is enforced and is there no way we can put in place something in the areas that we know they are relocation to,” asked Cllr McGeorge.

Committee members were informed by a council officer that “sufficient evidence would be required” before the PSPO could be applied to other areas.