Parking offence fines in England could be cut

car parked on double yellow lines

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Parking fines in England could be reduced, amid claims some councils are using them as a "cash cow".

The government could also order local authorities to bring in a five-minute "grace period" before issuing tickets when cars remain in bays for too long.

And it is looking at banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on-street parking restrictions.

Fixed-penalty charges currently range from £70 to £130 in London and from £40 to £70 elsewhere.

In a recent report, the Commons Transport Committee said it was "hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding", for which the minimum penalty is £100 and three penalty points added to the offender's licence.

'Initial step'

Since then, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has frozen the maximum fines councils can impose for parking offences until the 2015 general election.

But, in its response to the MPs' report, the Department for Transport goes further in looking at changing the system, saying it is "considering the legislative options to abolish the minimum rates for parking penalty charges".

This would be "an initial step to giving local authorities the scope to allow lower charges (than £70 in London and £40 in the rest of England) for minor parking variations", such as overstaying in car parks or on-street bays.

It is also looking at banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on-street parking restrictions, after the MPs said this could make "common-sense" decisions on when to issue penalties more difficult.

The Local Government Association has calculated that councils made a surplus from on- and off-street parking of £411m in 2011-12, while the RAC Foundation put the figure at £565m.

It is illegal for local authorities to set fines in order to raise revenue.


In a report published last autumn, the Transport Committee said: "A common-sense approach to parking enforcement should minimise the issuing of penalty charge notices to motorists who make honest mistakes."

This should include imposing a nationwide five-minute "grace" period before imposing fines on drivers whose parking tickets have expired, as already happens in some areas, it added.

In its response, the government says this is "worthy of consideration" and is asking the public to put forward its views on this and other proposals.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: "The government is committed to reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unjust parking practices. It is not fair to motorists and needs to stop. That is why we have frozen parking penalty charges for the remainder of this parliament. However, we haven't stopped there.

"We have also recently launched a public consultation proposing a number of changes to make sure local authorities are not short-changing motorists and operate in a fair manner. These changes could see the end of CCTV being used for on-street parking, unnecessary yellow lines and the introduction of compulsory 'grace periods' at the end of paid on-street parking."

The Transport Committee's chairman, Labour MP Louise Ellman, said: "Parking enforcement is an important issue for motorists and for the management of urban roads - including the revitalisation of our town centres so the Transport Committee is pleased to see the government take such a positive attitude to our recommendations."

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "We should see most parking offences for what they are. Not crimes but misdemeanours and we need enforcement that reflects this.

"We need some proportionality and transparency. At the very least all councils should publish an annual report outlining what their parking policy is, how charges are set and where any surplus goes."

Local authority parking operations, 2012-2013
MAP: Councils with surpluses and deficits across England

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  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    Here's a good ruse. Allow new doctors' surgeries in places with no parking spaces. Then put down double yellow lines ouside. Then get out the spy cameras and fine people who stop in their cars to let sick patients out to get to the surgery. An invention? No. Immoral maybe but it's all true.
    Slough Borough Council, hang your heads in shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    No good blaming the councils, there are far too many cars on the road and too many selfish drivers. If the fat controller Pickles intervenes with yellow lines. You will see more road rage and congestion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    Should not could. Get it done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    The attitude of "motorists" on this subject is typical.
    I'll bet they think that rules etc don't apply to them but then they probably think you can only be a little bit pregnant and a little bit murdered.
    So many selfish posters which also mirrors how these people drive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    #563. Contd. And on the same subject if any zealous parking wardens in Nottingham are reading this over lunch might I suggest they hover outside the White Horse Cafe (formerly the pub from Saturday Night, Sunday Morning) and get the white Audi A6 thats always parked on the double yellows about 5pm causing a huge tailback down Faraday road & onto Ilkeston road? Thanks....

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    It seems to me the authorities are very short sighted in that by grabbing as much cash through parking fees and fines as possible, they effectively disincentivise shopping in town centres, thereby driving down business revenue ergo tax receipts. Free parking within defined areas encourages economic activity, and increases gov't revenue. Probably too simple for them to 'get'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    I can park my huge car for as long as I like while I buy my Daily Mail and read about criminals and scroungers.
    What? Someone else wants to go to the shops as well? I saw it first! ME ME ME ME!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    The lowest form of life is a traffic warden................Amen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    Of course no-one has mobile phones with clocks & alarms on them, so no-one knows when their parking time runs out.

    It is just so difficult to set a phone alarm & so inconvenient, imagine having to exert oneself & set an alarm reminder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    546.Leaguefan said "WRONG!! If you are so stupid as to park deserve all you get...It's time to clamp down on selfish motorists"

    Most moans are not about the idea of fining illegal parking, but the methods that are applied to clearly generate money.

    Take the answer about Southend below. How does shifting the parking times to catch evening trade out benefit road safety?

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    Good grief!

    Post 375 "removed by moderators" simply because the comment repeated an article which was reported nationally.

    Mmm... another agenda not so well hidden. Shame on you BBC moderator.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    Sounds brilliant soon Ill be able to overtake every car on the raod on my bike as they will all be stuck in traffic jams.
    If you park correctly you do not get a fine .
    selfish self important people think this is a good idea, what will thye think when they realise the law lets everyone be the same as them and no one can move.

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    "Cars on pavements can force pushchairs onto the road too"

    I highly doubt that. Ladies with pushchairs wont move for anyone or anything.

    Ramming speed!

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    376. BoredtodeathbyOlympics
    " If there are no buses they will soon be provided when business starts crying the poor tale.. "

    Really? not far away from where I live, the council have also pulled funding for the buses, so theyve gone as well. This town now has NO public transport links.

  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    People may not like being spied on by CCTV cameras but in that case they should be more honest. They'll maintain against all other evidence that "they weren't there" "they didn't do it" "it was someone else" & here are 3 of my mates as witnesses

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    Try living in the Brighton area...ripoffsville. Greedy councillors who repeated lie to the towns folks about where the money goes.
    The traffic wardens drive around here gold plated scooters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    Funny that most of the town bureaucrats who insist that people must pay to park, have reserved free parking spaces at town halls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    We have just returned from overseas and how marvellous it was. Even in the city centre you could park for 2 hours for under £2. Outside, most shops and restaurants had plenty of free parking. It makes life so much more pleasant for everyone except the anti-car zealots in their cushy council offices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    525. Stavros85
    252. @purple

    Illegal parking kills people? Why has this not been reported??!! Wow. Are you serious?
    I've never seen a fatality but I saw 7 people cut out of cars after one went onto the wrong side of the road to get around a car on double yellows and was promptly hit by another car coming the other way.

    Cars on pavements can force pushchairs onto the road too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    552.Disabled Dave...........the charges went up to get same income from fewer cars. The High Street is now dead.

    Typical authority mindset & the reason why some 'brand names' go under. Apart from an element of greed, they just can't grasp the logic of 'less is more!'


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