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More transparency needed for parking enforcement – MPs

Local authorities’ parking enforcement should do ‘no more than cover costs’, the Transport Select Committee has stated. Its new report, published today, calls for greater transparency to ensure councils are not keeping an unnecessary surplus of revenue. 

Annual parking reports should be made mandatory for all local authorities, the committee recommends. Local authorities should also work with local businesses to develop innovative parking solutions, and the ring-fence around parking revenues should not be removed. 

The report calls for the DfT’s Operational Guidance to Local Authorities on Parking Policy and Enforcement to be clarified and updated. 

Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Committee said: “Parking enforcement is necessary for managing demand on the roads, however, the use of parking charges and fines specifically to raise revenue by local authorities is neither acceptable nor legal. Yet there is a deep-rooted public perception that   parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it’s essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency.

“Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this come from on or off street parking charges.

“It’s right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding.  Central Government should freeze the maximum penalty charge and develop differential fines for less serious parking violations.” 

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, said parking controls are “essential”. 

“Councils always look to be open and transparent with residents on their parking policies. Many already publish annual reports and adopt a common-sense approach to regulation that includes grace periods for motorists.           

“Any income they make from charges and fines is spent on running parking services, fixing potholes and providing subsidised travel to children and the elderly.” 

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