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.

'Positive'

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
    +1

    Comment number 861.

    Just to add to government money scams, local or otherwise, there is a certain speed camera, in Newport, South Wales, that is the highest grossing camera in the UK, having caught drivers in three years, and "earning" £1.5 million.
    (On a road where there have been NO accidents in recent memory)

    Parking in hospitals i one scam, this is another.

    Dick Turpin was hung for crimes like this.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 860.

    Brent Council built New Council centre costing 250/275 Million.They still moan that they are short of Funds. This does not make any sense.
    manilal Shah

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 859.

    I get fed up of bleating motorists. If you don't want the fines, don;t break the rules. Simple. What don't you understand? Same applies to speeding.

    Why should drivers be allowed to be irresponsible and selfish all the time?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 858.

    Perhaps the councils should make parking free in the town centres and replace them with Parking meters that operate from 8 till 9am

    They could be placed outside schools on double yellow lines and Zig Zag hazard areas, blind corners and drive ways.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 857.

    @842.Mike from Brum
    thought we already paid road fund licence so our cars can use the roads? Parking to my mind is just using the road

    No absolutely not, the public highway is provided for the pupose of locomotion, it is an offence to obstruct the highway - prevent another user accessing any part of the highway for its proper purpose unless it's specifically designated & marked out for doing so

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 856.

    How about stopping the Government as well they are just as greedy, in fact tens times more. @850 Councils like Governments don't listen because we the public don't vote them out,time to play the game fellows humans get rid of the ones no matter which party they are from. Oh that could be the trouble as most vote the way there great grandparents did and still do, me first the rest later.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 855.

    Adding a few thousand immigrants should help the situation. Wint be long before we are charged for walking down the streets and fined for stopping to look in shop windows. Local and central government exist to serve the people. Hard to see where either fulfill there role.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 854.

    @822.And_here_we_go_again
    That is about the stupidest thing I've ever heard, I'm not doubting you that it could be true, but why on earth should they not be allowed to?
    ----
    Because double yellows need to be visible to issue tickets.If the lines are obscured with snow and a motorist doesn't notice them, they can't get a ticket. Unscrupulous wardens were scraping away snow then taking pics.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 853.

    I'd rather Councils fined inconsiderate drivers to pay for services than taxed me. Councils don't distribute profits so all the money goes back into the local area. As they cant raise taxes beyond a certain percent, and are continually having central funding cut, this latest brain wave will only result in local services being reduced further. As I say - let the inconsiderate pay.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 852.

    Went to the Atlantic Coast of France in the height of summer - guess how much to park next to packed out beaches...absolutely nothing, it's as if the french want people to enjoy themselves, where the the UK authorities want to mug us as soon as we leave the house

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 851.

    #842 'Road Tax' ended about 1936. You pay 'Vehicle Excise Duty' based on the pollution your vehicle produces. Many cars are duty exempt. Your tax disc isn't paying to use the road at all.

    HOWEVER I'd argue that your council tax probably helped pay for your local council car parks so you are paying twice to use them.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 850.

    We have moaned about this topic for years but today we still do nothing about our greedy councils. Councils don't listen to moaners.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 849.

    I agree with Malcolm M - levy heavy charges on parking spaces at out of town shopping centres - this will bring people back to the High Street. The money collected could go to reduce fuel duty.
    Councils have to get their money from somewhere and I don't begrudge paying to park; but I do think that disabled people should pay - their privilege should be a place to park, not to park for free.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 848.

    Milton Keynes - one crap Pizza, 15 minutes late to the car 50£. There are no words to describe how much I won't be back.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 847.

    Councils have faced cuts. They use these charges to fund improvements in local transport infrastructure (that's what they've always said). Moving away from the issue of the actual value of the charges for a minute, how are councils going to fund this area when they have less money? What would you sacrifice for better transport infrastructure in your area?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 846.

    -

    In Germany equivalent fines cost abt €15-30.

    And you would also get no points unless you go more then 20km/h over a speed limit.

    Any idea why things are comparatively over the top in the UK?


    This might be a good start to bring back common sense...

    -

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 845.

    #836
    Given the extent to which Pickles & Co. have interfered I would agree - Pickles and small govt are mutually exclusive.

    #819
    Jason - you make a good point - on the face of it I quite like the idea of restricting EU jobseekers.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 844.

    pulled over to let a colleague return some keys and pulled into the entrance of a warehouse ready to me if needed as road was double yellow all the way. Why? because "There is no requirement for any signs indicating the restriction and the vehicle does not need to be causing any obstruction for a penalty charge notice to be issued legally as in this case." caught on cctv not even a warden!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 843.

    There surely can be little doubt that high parking charges and fines for overstaying have killed off small shops in town centres. The fairest way to charge in council carparks is with pay on exit barriers. No fines for overstaying, no need to cut short a shopping trip that may have been delayed by e.g. a queue in the post office. Oblige councils to install them in all car parks by 2015

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 842.

    I thought we already paid road fund licence so our cars can use the roads? Parking to my mind is just using the road.
    Way back in the day, 'road tax' was brought in to pay for the expanding roads network. Motorists paid for a lot of the roads to be made and then maintained/upgraded from cobbles or gravel and now they want us to pay to use what we paid for. Couldn't make it up.

 

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