Parking Fines Might Be Reduced In England
Government Considers Range Of Motorist Friendly Initiatives
The Government might soon eradicate the minimum rate for parking fines in England following a report that found "a deep-rooted perception” that local authorities view enforcement as a “cash cow". This perspective – the Commons Transport Committee report hinted – could be because the “authorities have a collective parking surplus in the hundreds of millions of pounds”. However, some of this came via parking charges rather than parking fines. The report also emphasised that “the setting of parking charges in order to raise revenue is not only unacceptable in public policy terms, it is illegal”. There is also the issue of proportionate punishment relative to other offences. As things stand, parking fines range from £70 to £130 in the capital city and £40 to £70 in other parts of the country. Motorists can, therefore, be charged more for a parking error than for serious offences such as speeding. Furthermore, there could soon be legislation that requires councils to introduce a five minute grace period for motorists that have paid to park, then slightly overstay their welcome. Some authorities already operate in this manner on a voluntary basis. The Government is also considering reducing – or perhaps eradicating – the use of surveillance cameras which enforce on street parking regulations.
Consequences Of Removing Parking Enforcement
Parking enforcement regulations might be unpopular with some people but they are necessary. This is evident from the events in Aberystwyth – a seaside town in Wales - between 2011 and 2012. Here, the local authority eradicated parking enforcement officers hoping that motorists would act considerately and within the law. Some refused to play ball. As such, motorists frequently parked on double yellow lines, single yellow lines, street corners, zig-zag lines, pavements and in disabled bays. This made it tricky for motorists – and in some cases pedestrians, etc. - to move through the town and businesses struggled to find the space required to accept deliveries. There were even reports of fights breaking out – although this happens throughout the world. Residents were also concerned that emergency vehicles such as fire engines might struggle to negotiate the maze of illegally parked cars some of which stayed for days. Delays of this nature had the potential to cost lives. The situation became so severe that the local newspaper published photographs of the worst offending cars without obscuring the registration plates. Needless to say, enforcement officers have now returned to the town.