Under the headline “Government delivers on parking promises to help local shops”, Government Minister Eric Pickles has announced a number of changes to parking regulations. These will apply nationwide but will have particular relevance in London where boroughs aggressively exploit the shortage of parking and their ability to raise revenue from parking. The changes are:
- The use of CCTV “spy cars” will be banned from being used except to enforce bus lanes, bus stands, red routes and school entrances (these are basically areas where not just parking is an enforceable offence but simply “stopping” incurs a penalty). Comment: it is not clear why these should be made exceptions to the general rule as they are enforceable by traffic officers in the normal way (there are rules available that enable the issuing of tickets where cars drive away as soon as a traffic warden appears).
- Drivers will be given ten minutes grace at the end of the expiry of a parking ticket.
- Revised statutory guidance will ensure that drivers will not be fined for parking at out-of-order parking meters, that parking to generate a profit is prohibited, that bailiffs do not use overly aggressive action, and parking adjudicators will be given stronger powers to hold councils to account on issues such as poor signage.
- One particular useful provision is that local residents and firms can now petition a council to initiate a formal review of parking policies in their area, with councillors subsequently taking a vote on action to be taken. For example this might be useful to obtain a review of the recent proposals in Bromley to increase parking charges substantially, but councillors will still ultimately decide on the matter. How many signatures do you need on the petition? The Government suggests a ” low threshold” should be set by councils and mentions the figure of 20 people.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses.
Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long-term. Our measures not only bring big benefits for high streets, motorists and local authorities – they put common sense back into parking.”
In summary these changes are a useful step in the right direction, but will surely not stop councils trying to raise as much revenue as they can from motorists.