Parking fine appeal success varies between council areas

Parking sign - generic
Image caption The figures cover initial challenges to on-street parking fines received from drivers between January and October 2016

The likelihood of successfully challenging parking fines varies widely depending on where drivers get a ticket, research has shown.

Some English councils approve only one in 10 appeals against on-street fines, while others accept nearly every one.

Runnymede Council in Surrey accepted just 9% of appeals while Basingstoke - just 30 miles away - approved 95%.

Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show about a third of driver challenges were accepted.

The figures cover initial challenges to on-street parking fines received from drivers between January and October 2016.

They were obtained from 98 English local authorities through Freedom of Information requests by the Press Association.

Runnymede received 1,011 challenges to parking fines, with only 93 being accepted.

Staffordshire County Council also accepted challenges at a rate of about one in 10 (10.4%).

By contrast, Basingstoke and Deane accepted 540 challenges out of 566 - a rate of more than 95%. Overall, almost 7,600 fines were issued in the borough overall during the 10-month period.

'Terrible signing'

A spokeswoman for Runnymede Council said fines over yellow lines and dropped kerb offences "aren't often open to much ambiguity".

"We use our own staff to carry out enforcement, who are experienced and well trained in the role and therefore only issue notices where necessary," she added.

Basingstoke and Deane councillor Simon Bound said it took a "pragmatic" approach to issuing fines which leads to a low number of formal appeals.

"Is the objective to fight to make sure the fine is paid, or is it about engaging with the resident and having the conversation about educating them to park better? They won't get an appeal approved if they do the same thing at another point in time."

Regional variation was also noticeable in Berkshire - drivers in Slough (23%) were nearly three times less likely to get off their ticket than in nearby Bracknell Forest (64%).

Guy Anker, of MoneySavingExpert.com, said many drivers were often "completely bamboozled" about where they could park.

"Often the real problem is really poor, terrible signing."

Mr Anker said that after having a challenge rejected by the council, about 50% of drivers who make a further appeal to the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal are successful.

He said: "I would encourage everyone who feels they are being harshly treated by their council to make an appeal to the independent arbitrator."

Parking fine appeals

Councils which accepted the fewest challenges:

  • Runnymede - 93 challenges out of 1,011 (9.2%)
  • Staffordshire - 478 challenges out of 4,606 (10.4%)
  • Sefton - 650 challenges out of 4,832 (13.5%)
  • Peterborough - 410 challenges out of 2,784 (14.7%)
  • Greenwich - 1,018 challenges out of 5,909 (17.2%)

Councils which accepted the most challenges:

  • Basingstoke and Deane - 540 challenges out of 566 (95.4%)
  • Waveney - 164 challenges out of 226 (72.6%)
  • South Tyneside - 1,474 challenges out of 2,074 (71.1%)
  • Swale - 3,342 challenges out of 4,721 (70.8%)
  • Mole Valley - 144 out of 224 challenges (64.3%)

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