Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland drivers appealed 200 parking fines in 2019

Drivers in Northern Ireland contested at least 200 parking tickets last year, new figures show. Stock image
Drivers in Northern Ireland contested at least 200 parking tickets last year, new figures show. Stock image
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Drivers in Northern Ireland contested at least 200 parking tickets last year, new figures show.

The British Parking Association (BPA) extended the right to appeal parking fines to Northern Ireland and Scotland on May 1 last year.

By September 30, 200 local drivers had challenged their fines, as well as 835 penalised parkers in Scotland.

Common excuses include entering the wrong registration number, failing to understand instructions on signs and confusion about the grace periods allowed before and after parking.

The figures were released by an independent body set up to handle appeals, Parking on Private land Appeals (POPLA).

Lead adjudicator John Gallagher said drivers were "more aware than ever" of their right to appeal, with four in ten fines (40%) now being overturned across the UK.

This is partly down to a rise in privately owned car parks and number plate recognition cameras.

Mr Gallagher said he usually can't help drivers caught out by "unforeseen circumstances" as appeals were based on fact and law.

There was room, however, to refer back cases "where we see genuine special circumstances".

This included one driver who was fined for being late as his hospital surprised him with an emergency blood transplant.

"If a motorist feels they have a strong case, we would encourage them to appeal to us.

"We would also recommend that they provide as much information and evidence as possible to help their case," said Mr Gallagher.

POPLA's annual report for 2019 showed that of 79,962 appeals across the UK, a total of 32,012 fines had been cancelled.

This was down to the appeal being allowed or parking operators not contesting the challenge.

Steve Clark, BPA's head of business operations, said: "We applaud the launch of POPLA into Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing motorists there the chance to have their cases independently considered."

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