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LGO: Parking enforcement ‘should be fair to all’

Councils in England should be fairer in how they handle parking fines issued to drivers, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has said.

In its latest report, ‘Fairer Fines,’ the LGO concluded that some drivers are being treated unfairly by councils regarding parking penalties, highlighting problems such as failing to tell drivers of all their appeal rights such as independent assessment and not being available to discuss the penalty notice.

The ombudsman also found that some authorities do not properly consider informal challenges to parking penalties, citing an example where a woman challenged the fairness of a fine she was given but paid anyway, leading the council to disregard the challenge while still cashing the cheque.

The LGO, Michael King, whose appointment was confirmed last month, said that local authorities need to make sure that parking enforcement “is fair for all”.

“To help build trust between local authorities and motorists, authorities should provide clear and transparent information, follow correct guidance and listen properly to legitimate concerns,” King said.

“If motorists genuinely feel a parking ticket they’ve received is unfair, they should be aware that they have a legal right to appeal to an independent parking tribunal and the council should not reject valid concerns out of hand.”

Parking, bus lane and moving traffic tickets – officially known as penalty charge notices (PCNs) – are commonly issued by councils, with local authorities issuing around 10 million PCNs a year.

The LGA said that motorists should be aware that they have a statutory right to appeal their PCN with an independent adjudicator, such as the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or London Tribunals if they live in the capital.

The association added that the vast majority of councils have “robust” procedures in place for handling parking offences and deal “rigorously and fairly” with any issues concerning PCNs.

“Councils are on the side of hard-pressed motorists and so try to ensure there are spaces available for everyone at all times of the day and keep traffic moving,” said the LGA’s transport spokesman Martin Tett. “A tiny minority do not park appropriately and cause congestion as well as making it more difficult and dangerous for others to park.

“The income raised through on-street parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling the roads repair backlog, which could reach £14bn within two years, and creating new parking spaces.”

Local governments are currently having to deal with a huge increase in traffic and competition for parking spaces, with councils expecting increases of up to 55% in traffic and 86% in congestion by 2040, Cllr Tett added.

While advising councils of how they could improve their parking enforcement procedures, the LGO’s report also advises motorists of how best to challenge a PCN which they think is unfair.

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James (Leeds)   06/02/2017 at 13:03

Councils try to get people not to appeal by offering the discount system - fine is £60 but reduced to £30 if you pay within 14days - if you appeal you lose the right to the discounted rate - this is also uinfair!

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