Page last updated at 13:39 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 14:39 UK

New parking rules come into force

Car parked on double yellow lines
Parking fines can no longer be used by councils to raise revenue

New parking regulations have come into force in England and Wales despite concerns over the use of CCTV footage to enforce rules and impose fines.

Varying charges can now be levied - with larger fines for serious offences and lower ones for minor misdemeanours such as overstaying at a parking meter.

The AA said it was concerned that using CCTV footage was unfair on drivers.

But the Local Government Association said motorists inconvenienced by errant parkers would "at last get justice".

'High standard'

Caroline Sheppard, the chief adjudicator of the new penalties, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the new measures should make it easier for drivers to appeal against penalties.

Drivers will be able to have their appeals heard by telephone instead of attending hearings or ask for appeals to be switched to their home town.

However, she said the new rules could make it more difficult for motorists to appeal in certain circumstances, such as when a parking ticket is received several days after an alleged offence.

If someone found an incorrectly-issued ticket on their windscreen they would have their pay and display ticket, or a receipt for a delivery, she said.

We do have to be clear that it is a balance between making sure that traffic can keep moving, but also having a fairer system
Transport Minister Rosie Winterton

"Obviously if you get this through the post then it is going to be more difficult."

But she added that adjudicators would take that into account and it was a matter that she was looking at "very carefully".

Meanwhile, disability charity Mobilise said it is expecting "a flood of calls" from disabled motorists who get parking fines issued by CCTV because they believe cameras will not be able to distinguish whether they are blue-badge holders.

But Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said: "There's a very clear appeals process, so people with a disabled badge would have very clear evidence that they were not contravening the rules."

One of the conditions of the new parking rules is that councils will not be allowed to use parking fines as a way of raising revenue.

In addition, they will no longer be allowed to set targets for the number of tickets issued.

The government is "strongly advising" councils to only use wheel-clamping against those who persistently evade their penalty charges, she added.

Just issuing a fine actually doesn't move the traffic along at all
Barrie Segal
AppealNow.com

Ms Winterton said the new measures would benefit everyone.

"If people do park selfishly it prevents other people from getting to work, getting to visit family, friends, going to the shops," she told the Today programme.

"It causes congestion and in some instances it can actually prevent emergency vehicles getting to the scenes of accidents.

"We do have to be clear that it is a balance between making sure that traffic can keep moving, but also having a fairer system, which we believe that this is."

CCTV 'delays'

The AA's head of road policy Paul Watters said he broadly welcomed the changes, but was hesitant about the use of CCTV, preferring "real-time" tickets given to drivers or fixed to their cars.

"It does introduce an element of delay, because these things won't land on people's doormats for a few weeks perhaps, so you've forgotten the offence probably," he said.

"It doesn't give you an opportunity to check the signs and lines and make sure everything's in order," he said.

Those selfish individuals who park in main roads out of cities will finally get their comeuppance
David Sparks
Local Government Association

"So we don't want to see authorities going headlong into using CCTV because I think there are problems inherent in that system."

Barrie Segal, founder of AppealNow.com - a website which advises drivers on how to challenge penalty fines - told the BBC the new system had fundamental flaws.

"If I were trying to move traffic along and I saw - on a camera - that somebody was parked incorrectly, I'd make sure somebody went along and said 'Would you please move the car?'.

"Just issuing a fine actually doesn't move the traffic along at all, but the government and the local authorities would have us believe that that does."

HAVE YOUR SAY
If you don't want to be fined do not park illegally
Tommo, Hull

But David Sparks of the Local Government Association defended the changes.

"It'll mean that those selfish individuals who park in main roads out of cities will finally get their comeuppance, and the hundreds of thousands of other motorists who are inconvenienced by them will at last get some justice," he said

"It'll also mean that there'll be the same systems throughout the country and the money raised from any fines will go towards the motorist - ie it'll be spent on roads maintenance, the enforcement system or street lighting."




video and audio news
CCTV monitors car parking



SEE ALSO
Parking fines 'on the increase'
31 Aug 07 |  London

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