Birmingham's transport chief is set to demand the city's traffic wardens are evenly spread throughout the city.

Coun Len Gregory (Con Billesley) will tell today's full council meeting that he agrees with a recent scrutiny report recommending even greater coverage in the suburbs to help to reduce congestion.

He will also make sure that the next contract with a private operator - due to be drawn up in 2006 - will explicitly forbid the use of ticket quotas for individual wardens after a huge increase in penalty notices issued after Control Plus took over the contract in 2001.

Mr Gregory said he accepted the scrutiny report, which can find no evidence of "quotas" being used by Control Plus as has been rumoured in other cities, which have privatised parking enforcement.

However, he said: "We have to say to the contractor we do not believe in targets, the measure must always be improving congestion and pedestrian safety.

"If you set a quota, it becomes an incentive for wardens to go out looking to give people

tickets. I do not want wardens lying in wait, lurking in the bushes, waiting to pick off motorists. Their job, and we must make this clear in the next contract, is to patrol all areas in order to make sure that traffic flows and people are safe."

He added: "We also must set minimum levels of deployment across not just the city centre but the suburbs too."

Since Control Plus took over the £1.9 million contract from the council in 2001, the number of tickets issued in an average month has increased by six per cent from 13,497 in 2002/3 to 14,312 per month in 2004/5.

In total, the council made a net profit of £ 5.18 million from parking enforcement in 2003/4.

Before taking office last June, leading Tory councillors called for an inquiry into Control Plus's 'ruthless' pursuit of motorists.

Last month, it was revealed Alum Rock Road was the most fined street in the city, with 5,577 fines issued during 2004 - 15 tickets a day - netting £334,620. Of the 30 most fined streets in the city, 13 were outside the city centre and resulted in nearly £1.5 million.