Councils were told to make parking fines fairer
The Local Government Ombudsman yesterday said motorists “are sometimes treated unfairly and may be paying fines unnecessarily”.
It added: “Motorists may be paying more than they need to because they have not been given correct advice on challenging tickets. “Councils should do more to inform motorists of their rights when issuing parking and traffic penalties.”
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It also called on councils to take complaints seriously. Councils issue about 10 million parking, bus lane and moving traffic tickets a year.
Motorists can appeal to the council and can join the 60,000 a year who take cases to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal or, in London, the London Tribunals. The AA said the report confirmed the suspicion that parking enforcement is often less about deterring bad driving and “more about income it generates for councils”.
The Local Government Ombudsman yesterday said motorists are sometimes treated unfairly
The LGO cited Barbara who incurred a ticket after parking to let her “infirm” grandmother get in her home. Barbara wrote to the council to complain that she had parked legally but enclosed a £55 cheque to avoid having to pay double within 14 days.
Local authorities need to ensure parking enforcement is fair for all
The council paid no heed to her challenge and simply cashed the cheque.
Callum contested a fine sent to the previous owner of his house – only to receive a warning letter from bailiffs appointed by the council.
The LGO report Fairer Fines said problems include councils failing to tell motorists of their appeal rights or being unavailable to discuss issues related to the fines.
And they do not always properly consider “informal challenges” made by motorists within 28 days of receiving a parking ticket.
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LGO’s Michael King said: “Local authorities need to ensure parking enforcement is fair for all. We investigate complaints where people are aggrieved and we’ve found the council to be at fault. Authorities should provide clear and transparent information, follow correct guidance and listen properly to legitimate concerns.
“If motorists genuinely feel a ticket is unfair, they have a legal right to appeal to an independent parking tribunal and the council should not reject valid concerns.” AA president Edmund King said: “Drivers ticketed unfairly are sick of playing this ‘call my bluff’ game where dubious tickets are issued on the basis that, if the drivers don’t agree with them, they can always make lengthy and costly appeals.
Councils issue about 10 million parking, bus lane and moving traffic tickets a year
“In England and Wales 56 per cent of ticket appeals brought to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal were accepted and consequently cancelled.
“This includes cases where the council didn’t contest the appeal (29 per cent in England, 31 per cent in Wales). This suggests that council parking enforcers try their luck and throw tickets like confetti – hoping that borderline or unfair cases just pay up, particularly with the threat of a higher fine if the original isn’t paid in 14 days.
“Listening to and acting on parking guidance from official bodies hasn’t always been the councils’ strong point.
LGO’s Michael King said: 'Local authorities need to ensure parking enforcement is fair' Justice is served for bad parking Fri, January 27, 2017
Bad parking pictures: Justice is served to these inconsiderate drivers.
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Justice was served after one particular motorist decided to park across two bays in a supermarket
“Just last week, Westminster and other councils looked to slapping higher parking costs on diesel cars.” The Local Government Association said: “A minority do not park appropriately and cause congestion as well as making it difficult and dangerous for others to park.
“The income from on-street parking charges and fines is spent on parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as the roads repair backlog, which could hit £14billion within two years, and creating new parking spaces.”
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