By Ray Massey
New plans to crack down on ‘heavy handed and aggressive’ parking enforcement by councils who rake in £1.3billion a year from motorists were unveiled by the Government today. It includes giving drivers a decent ‘grace period’ of up to five minutes before imposing a ticket, stopping CCTV being used for on-street enforcement, a review of double yellow lines and cracking down on parking fines being used to subsidise other council spending.
Ministers are also proposing a 25 per cent discount on fines for motorists who pay within seven days of losing an appeal. Also, penalty charge fines are to be frozen for the rest of this Parliament ‘with immediate effect’ and all councils will be required to make clear in their annual reports exactly how much money is raised from parking ‘and where that revenue goes’.
The plans to tackle ‘aggressive parking policies’ which ‘blight’ the nation’s high streets are set out by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin in a new consultation document published on Friday. It says councils should act in a ‘fair and proportionate’ manner’ but cites evidence that many do not. Use of CCTV is ‘no longer proportionate’ so: ‘The Government therefore intends to put an end to this practice.’
The Department for Transport notes ‘increasing concerns’ about the direction of some council parking policies and says: ’These steps will make it cheaper and easier to park, encourage people to shop locally and help with the cost of living.’