Belfast Telegraph

Shock as Northern Ireland motorists clock up 111,000 fines in nine months

£3.5m in fines issued in past quarter

By Jonathan Bell

The body which represents small and independent retailers has described as "staggering" government figures which show over 111,000 parking and bus lane fines were issued in nine months.

The figure was revealed in the quarterly penalty notification statistics.

Between July and September almost 40,000 fines were issued for parking and bus lane offences - the majority all occurring in Belfast.

More than 11,000 fines were issued in the city for parking violations with another 15,000 handed out for driving in bus lanes. Donegall Square East was again the camera that caught the most drivers out followed by Great Victoria Street and College Square East.

Each penalty carries a fine of £90. However, if it is paid within 14 days that reduces by half to £45.

At the lower end of the scale the past quarter's 39,449 fines would have generated £1.8million in fines. It would have been £3.5m if motorists paid the entire £90 fine.

For the year to September, almost 111,000 tickets have been issued for those driving in the bus lanes and for parking offences.

Retail NI, which represents independent business, said the figure was "staggering" claiming the "over-zealous" policy was driving people to out-of-town shopping centres.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said the fines were "having a clear and negative impact on shoppers and our members".

“Retail NI has consistently hit out at the this over-zealous fining policy and the negative message it sends out to shoppers who use their cars. The only winners from this are the large out of town supermarkets, who have free car parking and no traffic attendants," he said.

“We want to see sensible and fair enforcement of car parking and bus lanes and an end to this current excessive strategy. We will be pressing the Department for Infrastructure to urgently review their car parking and bus lane enforcement policy”

The Department for Infrastructure said the aim of the parking and bus lane enforcement was to "reduce the number of vehicles illegally parked on our roads or driving in bus lanes or other bus priority measures. 

"This in turn reduces traffic congestion and helps traffic to flow more freely, assists delivery vehicles, allows buses to keep to their timetable and improves bus journey times, improves road safety and provides accessibility for all road users, including Blue Badge holders," it said.

It said car parking charges helped with the turnover of spaces allowing more visitors and shoppers to find a spot.

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