Government considers allowing councils to raise limits
After the news last week that Ealing Council are to raise the cost of parking permits across the borough, reports today warn that parking fines could rise by up to 40%, which could mean London motorists will face payments of £140.
Despite the Coalition having pledged to end the “war on the motorist”, ministers are considering allowing councils to raise the cost of fines.
Norman Baker, the transport minister, confirmed that the Government was examining the proposals, but added that fines should not be used to raise revenue.
The maximum fine is currently £120 in London and £70 elsewhere. Under proposals drawn up by the British Parking Association, which represents councils and the contractors they use to issue penalty charge notices (PCN’s) these would increase to £140 and £100.
The proposals are contained in two consultation documents with a final decision due to be taken later this year. According to the latest available figures, motorists paid £328million in parking fines in 2008 – three times as much as they handed over in speeding fines.
Despite these sums, many of the 326 local authorities who control parking within their boundaries say they are having to subsidise enforcement out of council tax, which they cannot afford to do under the current financial climate.
One option in the consultation was to raise fines within London from £80 to £100 for lesser offences and from £120 to £140 for the more serious contraventions.
Motoring organisations voiced fears that the rises were inevitable. “The indications we are getting suggest the Coalition i likely to cave in to pressure from the parking industry,” said Paul Waters of the AA.
“Just a few years ago the last government promised a ‘fairer and clearer system for everyone.’ Tearing up or watering down these principles will see a new battle-front open with town halls waging a local tax war on drivers who dare make what may often be just a minor parking mistake.”
September 21, 2010