Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Drivers given 4.25m parking tickets

Local councils issued nearly 4.25 million parking tickets last year, figures show

Local councils issued motorists with almost 4.25 million parking tickets in 2009/10.

And the percentage of people successful in their appeal against their fine fell compared with 2008/09, according to a report by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

The rise in tickets issued - from 4.03 million in 2008/09 to 4.24 million in 2009/10 - was due to 50 new councils in England and Wales joining the scheme which empowers local authorities to issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).

The tribunal said more than half the councils in the scheme issued fewer PCNs in 2009/10.

There was a 15% increase in appeals made to the tribunal in 2009/10 and 57% of motorists won their cases, compared with 62% who were successful in 2008/09 and 60% in 2007/08. The rate of appeal per parking ticket remained steady at 0.3%.

The tribunal's chief adjudicator Caroline Sheppard said councils should ensure that the use of CCTV enforcement was "properly supporting their transport objectives and that it is being applied fairly and with integrity".

She also called for the setting up of a body to deal with complaints outside the tribunal's jurisdiction.

Ms Sheppard said: "The tribunal is receiving increasing numbers of complaints and phone calls from motorists who have been sent a document, often resembling a council PCN, from the operator of a private car park where the vehicle has been photographed with automatic number plate recognition technology.

"These callers wish to challenge liability to pay the demand and are enquiring whether our tribunal handles such cases. We do not; nor is there as yet any other appeal body or ombudsman to deal with some apparently worrying complaints."

She continued: "There are provisions in the Protection of Freedom Bill, currently going through Parliament, that seek to apply owner liability to private car park contracts. Regrettably there is no statutory provision for the operators to fund an ombudsman service to deal with motorists' complaints. Given the number of calls the tribunal receives, there is clear need to establish such a body."