Eric Pickles, the Transport Secretary, declares a crackdown on over-zealous parking enforcement as raft of new measures come into force.
Motorists will be given a 10 minute “grace period” which means they can avoid getting hit by fines when their parking tickets run out. Under new laws to help local shops, which was laid in Parliament on 6 March 2015, drivers will be allowed extra time before traffic wardens fine them. The measure will come into force later this month.
The new rules are part of a raft of new measures aimed at deterring draconian local authorities from using parking fines as a “cash cow”. Under the draft regulations, councils will be barred from using CCTV “spy cars” to catch motorists from next month.
Eric Pickles, the communities and local government secretary, has also issued guidance which gives residents the right to challenge yellow lines on their roads. Under the guidance if at least 10 per cent of local residents are against yellow lines in their neighbourhood they should be able to petition for a formal review.
Councils will be barred from the “heavy-handed” use of bailiffs to collect fines, including “rip off charges”. Drivers will also be able to avoid fines if they are unable to buy a ticket because parking meters are out of order.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, said:
“We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses. Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long term. Our measures not only bring big benefits for high streets, motorists and local authorities – they put common sense back into parking.”
Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said:
“Helping local businesses thrive is a key part of our long term economic plan. These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists and help boost the high street by ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, while also protecting schoolchildren and keeping key routes and bus lanes clear.”
The ban on using CCTV “spy cars” to enforce parking rules is likely to be welcomed by motorists. Councils that use spy cameras to enforce parking rules are making nearly nine times more in motorists’ fines than authorities which do not use them.
Official figures show that councils which are using CCTV to enforce parking rules made £49.35 per household last year. This compares to just £5.69 per household in councils which do not have them. The figures come ahead of a consultation on a ban to stop councils using cameras to snap people parking illegally.
Government figures show a quarter of councils in England – 70 out of 288 – currently use CCTV cameras to enforce parking rules. This often means that drivers who unwittingly park in a loading bay can receive a fine through the post weeks later.